Financial Regulatory Forum

Standard Chartered’s AML lapses provide crucial lessons on internal controls

By Julie DiMauro, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Sept. 9 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Standard Chartered Bank’s $300 million penalty from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for compliance failings last month highlights the importance of having effective transaction monitoring procedures to meet regulatory requirements, particularly those pertaining to high-risk clients. But what are these transaction monitoring requirements, and who is a high-risk client?

Under the terms of the order with NYDFS, London-based Standard Chartered has to suspend the processing of U.S.-dollar transactions for certain high-risk retail business clients in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates until its transaction monitoring program is enhanced. The settlement comes two years after the bank agreed to pay $667 million to a variety of U.S. regulators to resolve allegations of sanctions violations concerning transactions linked to Iran. (more…)

Bank of America’s mortgage-fraud deal yields quick impact; message may not be what enforcers wanted

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - It took just one day for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement Thursday that Bank of America would pay $16.65 billion over charges of fraudulent mortgage origination, securitization and servicing to have an impact.

But the impact was probably one of the last things Holder wanted to see as a result of the deal. (more…)

Effective training a weak link in many compliance programs – survey

By Emmanuel Olaoye and Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Aug. 13, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - Firms, especially those in the financial services sector, have improved their compliance and ethics training programs but are still being challenged in measuring their programs’ effectiveness, two researchers told Thomson Reuters Compliance Complete on Wednesday.

And the people driving the programs, often in chief compliance officer or roles of similar function, are still being challenged by limited resources and difficulties in making a business case for the firm’s investment, said the researchers, Mary Bennett and Ingrid Freeden of Navex Global. (more…)

Internal Audit & the Four Cs: Culture, Conduct, Corporate Governance and Customer Outcomes

By Michael Cowan, Regulatory Intelligence Analyst, Thomson Reuters

NEW YORK, July 30, 2014 - Corporate governance and culture have moved into the mainstream as a result of the financial crisis, and as the global recovery takes hold, governments and regulators are keen to ensure lessons are learned. It is clear, however, that despite the increasing profile of corporate governance with regulators, shareholders and customers, and the effect it has on the health and reputation of firms, it is still an area in which many internal auditors lack a high level of involvement. (more…)

Focus on bad bankers, not just their banks, New York’s Lawsky says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 13, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Banks don’t do bad things – people do – so the people behind the alleged violations should face more regulatory scrutiny and personal accountability, said Benjamin Lawsky, Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services.

Focusing on individuals could better deter misconduct , and could also stop sending signals that the bank where the individuals worked – and the banking industry overall – are bad, Lawsky told reporters at a Reuters financial services regulatory summit in Manhattan. (more…)

INSIGHT: SEC cyber-risk exam guidelines set template for firms

By Abel Picardi, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, May 6, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission tightens its supervision of technology security on Wall Street, with plans to examine cybersecurity preparedness at more than 50 broker-dealers and investment advisers, the agency has released a checklist intended to help firms review their controls whether or not they come into the crosshairs of examiners.

The move is in keeping with a cybersecurity push by SEC Chair Mary Jo White, as well as principles outlined in February by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. (more…)

Expect corruption crackdown to widen, intensify

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Apr. 15, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Companies and financial firms that are potentially subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other anti-corruption regimes should expect more of the enforcement crackdown they have seen in recent years, except in greater quantity and intensity, two former U.S. government officials said last week.

The ex-officials, Cheryl Scarboro, a law partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, and Greg Andres, a partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, respectively headed the Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Division FCPA unit and the Department of Justice Criminal Division fraud section. They spoke at an FCPA and anti-corruption seminar at the New York City Bar Association. (more…)

Special report: UK regulators face mounting concerns over their handling of multi-million pound fund collapse

By Alex Davidson, Compliance Complete

LONDON, Apr. 4, 2014 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Regulators face searching questions about whether they acted effectively in the multi-million pound collapse in 2012 of an unregulated collective investment scheme (UCIS). The then Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) decisions concerning the Connaught Income Fund, Series 1, a UK-domiciled fund based in London, will come under fresh scrutiny at a debate in Westminster Hall, between members of parliament and HM Treasury this month, subject to scheduling. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said that the FSA, its predecessor body, acquitted itself well in dealing with the situation. Detractors, including investors, MPs and independent financial advisers (IFAs), have said the regulator failed to act appropriately on warnings about the misappropriation of multiple millions of pounds from the fund.
Some have found fault with the regulator, fund operators and IFAs who sold the Connaught fund, but it remains to be seen who, if anyone, will be held broadly accountable. Critics of the regulator have said it failed to investigate effectively evidence of financial misappropriation and insolvency, at Tiuta Plc (Tiuta), a regulated mortgage lender, to which the fund was lending money. The evidence was provided by whistleblower George Patellis, chief executive of Tiuta, which, like its unregulated subsidiary,Tiuta International (TIL), was a specialist partner to the Connaught fund. (more…)

Conduct risk: an overview

By Jane Walshe, Compliance Complete

LONDON/NEW YORK, Mar. 19 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) – Conduct risk is one of the hottest topics in financial services but what exactly is it? This article explores the various definitions of the concept, which can be hard to pin down, put forward by regulators and international standard setting bodies. It will be followed by other articles exploring the findings of Thomson Reuters Accelus’ recent Conduct Risk Report, which provide an industry benchmark showing the work firms are doing in relation to this important area.

The phrase “conduct risk” comprises a wide variety of activities and types of behaviour which fall outside the other main categories of risk, such as market, credit, liquidity and operational risk. In essence it refers to risks attached to the way in which a firm, and its staff, conduct themselves. Although there is no official definition, it is generally agreed to incorporate matters such as how customers are treated, remuneration of staff and how firms deal with conflicts of interest. (more…)

“Big data” tools will improve regulatory oversight, FINRA’s di Florio says

By Stuart Gittleman, Compliance Complete

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 (Thomson Reuters Accelus) - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is developing a suite of “big data” information sources and analytics to improve regulatory oversight of securities firms, according to Carlo di Florio, FINRA’s chief risk officer and head of strategy.

Leveraging technology and analytics can make for a “unique moment in regulation [that lets regulators] see things they couldn’t have seen or understood as well before,” di Florio said at an event this week hosted by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association compliance and legal society. (more…)

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