The global CEO of Coutts, Rory Tapner, told Arabian Business that the UK regulatory authority, Financial Services Authority (FSA), didn’t order the bank to drop any specific clients but it voluntarily decided to end its relationships with a number of customers, including some in the Gulf.
"The area [where] we were weak was the box on source of wealth; source of income we were good. There were a handful of customers we did drop because we couldn’t complete this box. I’m afraid we did pick a few in this region, a couple in Russia [and] we picked two or three in London," Arabian Business quoted Tapner as saying.
"As we started to look at this with the FSA we challenged them when they were talking about a big fine. At that scale of fine you are going to have to point at a bad name of someone. They said ‘No, we are getting tougher on banks who don’t have the processes we expect them to have as they put themselves at risk of getting caught out.’ That is what went wrong… There are still an awful lot of banks in the queue where it is not just the process, as we are now beginning to see," Tapner added.
According to FSA, Coutts had failed to adequately deal with clients whose prominent position in public life might have made them vulnerable to corruption, known as politically exposed persons.
The regulator also added that Coutts did not apply robust controls when starting relationships with high-risk customers and did not consistently apply an appropriate level of monitoring, Arabian Business reported.