10-Dec-2003: FSA fines Abbey National companies 2,320,000

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The Financial Services Authority (FSA) today fined Abbey National companies a total of 2,320,000 for serious compliance failings. Abbey National plc was fined 2mn for breaches of the FSA’s Money Laundering Rules, while Abbey National Asset Managers Limited (ANAM) was fined 320,000 for systems and control breaches. Both cases reflected wider control failings, including inadequate monitoring of key regulatory risks, across the Abbey National group over a prolonged period.

Abbey National plc

Andrew Procter, FSA Director of Enforcement, said:

“The FSA has repeatedly made it clear to the regulated community that it expects all financial firms as part of their compliance regime to establish and maintain strong and effective anti-money laundering procedures.

“The failure by Abbey National to monitor compliance with FSA Money Laundering Rules demonstrated a marked lack of regard for its regulatory obligations. Abbey National failed to ensure that suspicious activity reports were promptly considered and reported to the National Criminal Intelligence Service and to identify customers adequately. Both these controls are fundamental to the UK’s Anti-Money Laundering regime’s effectiveness. Their failings also reflected the fact that the overall control environment, particularly compliance monitoring, has been weak across the group over a prolonged period.

“The size of the fine demonstrates that failure by firms to put in place these fundamental systems and controls will be dealt with severely by the FSA and it reflects the importance the FSA attaches to its statutory objective of reducing the chance of regulated firms being used for purposes connected to financial crime. “I was, however, pleased to see the personal commitment of Abbeys CEO to resolving these cases promptly.”