Published: 24th May 2018

Of relevance to: All firms

In a speech by Megan Butler, Executive Director of Supervision – Investment, Wholesale and Specialists at the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), delivered at the Anti-Money Laundering TechSprint event on 22 May 2018, the FCA revealed that 2,100 firms, including all the major banks and life insurers, had responded to the annual financial crime data return by 31 December 2017.

The following were the key points:

  • 2,117 terrorism related reports had been sent to the National Crime Agency;
  • 13,000 restraint orders were in place to freeze customer accounts;
  • 3,600 restraint orders had been made during the previous year;
  • over 1,100,000 prospective customers were refused services amid financial crime concerns; and
  • a further 370,000 existing customer relationships were exited for the same reason.

Smaller firms were not required to respond, so the figures do not cover all businesses the FCA supervises, nor does it include data from the many international businesses in the UK that are structured so their UK operations are regulated elsewhere.

Phishing and identity theft are cited by firms as the most widespread fraud risks they now face; cybercrime now accounts for nearly 50% of all recorded crime in the UK.

This comes after claims were made at the end of 2017 that the UK, particularly the London property market, is a destination of choice to launder the proceeds of overseas crime and corruption.

Latest official figures suggest £90bn in criminal proceeds is laundered through the UK each year and pressure group Transparency International believes up to £4.4bn worth of British property might have been bought with suspicious wealth.

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