Dec 13 • 2 min read

Lessons from Santander’s fines


Santander has been fined a total of £32.8m by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), for failing to properly monitor transactions and identify suspicious activity.

The FCA found that Santander had inadequate systems and controls in place to prevent money laundering, and the PRA identified “significant shortcomings” in the bank’s management of its anti-money laundering (AML) processes. This is not the first time that Santander has been penalised for money laundering failings; in 2018, the bank was fined £32m by the FCA for similar issues.

The latest fine is a warning that financial institutions must have more efficient due diligence and transaction monitoring procedures in place. The issues in large part stemmed from constraints on resourcing meaning that high risk alerts were not reviewed for a long time, and that business banking alerts were all classified as medium risk.

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Finding this information out requires teams of manual investigators to research across open source information and corporate records, along with PEPs, Sanctions and Watchlist checks. This includes screening out millions of false positives for ineffective flagging systems. Doing this research has historically been hugely time consuming.

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