FSA money laundering clampdown to create "sharp rise" in individual fines

27 November 2008

Next year will see a "sharp rise" in fines against individual money laundering reporting officers (MLRO) as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) cracks down on failures in anti-money laundering, it has been claimed.

Compliance screening specialist Datanomic said the regulator would start holding MLROs personally liable for failures in money laundering controls as a "warning shot" to ensure financial institutions comply with the Money Laundering Regulations introduced in December 2007.

Last month, the FSA imposed its first-ever fine on an individual MLRO for their failure to implement effective anti-money laundering measures. Michael Wheelhouse was hit with a £17,500 penalty by the watchdog while his employer, Sindicatum Holdings, was fined £49,000.

At the time, FSA head of retail enforcement, William Amos, said the sanctions to a warning to "firms and individuals" that it will not hesitate to clamp down on failures.

Datanomic chief executive Dr Jonathan Pell said the regulator is "starting to show its teeth".

He added: "Mitigating risk against money laundering is vital to the integrity of the UK's financial markets.

"The message for MLROs is loud and clear - get your house in order or be held personally liable."

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