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August 12, 2021

FCA receives 2,754 separate misconduct allegations from whistleblowers

By Anita Senaratna

Industry watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has received a total of 2,754 separate allegations of misconduct, including fraud, money laundering and compliance complaints, according to official figures published in its annual report.Ewarlier this year, the FCA said it would be ‘testing its powers to the limit’ to tackle online scams and fraud. Wayne Johnson, chief executive officer at Encompass Corporation, said the pandemic had created an environment where criminals were able to take advantage of the confusion.“This year, more individuals are attempting to use the chaos of the pandemic to carry out financial crime. Therefore, it is important that the FCA is taking the necessary to steps to tighten their control and increase visibility over new sectors and payments technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, which are being used to launder money.,” he said.“But the fight against financial crime can’t be won by the regulators alone, and businesses from all sectors must improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their onboarding processes, compliance and due diligence, not just for the sake of ‘ticking boxes’ and averting regulatory fines, but to help prevent even more financial crime and dirty money running through critical businesses and infrastructure.”The report also revealed that there are 184 individuals and firms under investigation for carrying out unauthorised business. There was also £189.8m ($262.8m) in financial penalties handed out, as well as several prosecutions relating to allegations of insider dealing, investment fraud or money laundering.The FCA revealed it has strengthened its anti-money laundering supervisions over the last year, using data and more diverse information sources to detect financial crimes. The 1,046 ‘whistleblowing’ reports (staffers reporting against their own organisation) is a slight reduction on last year’s figure of 1,100 reports. This year, 15 of the reports led to the FCA taking ‘significant action’ against the firm to mitigate harm. There were an additional 135 cases that warranted less significant actions, such as writing to or visiting firms suspected of not complying with the rules. The FCA also handled 97 cases related to money laundering in the retail banking sector, put in place one Voluntary Requirement Notice (VREQ) and progressed 15 enforcement cases. This was also the first full financial year when the FCA was responsible for accessing the anti-money laundering measures of cryptoasset businesses. The report found that 138 firms that appeared to be trading without having applied for registration had been placed on a public-facing register.

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