Speaking at the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) annual public meeting, director of enforcement and market oversight Mark Steward said banks need to do more to prevent money laundering.
The issue of money laundering has been brought to the fore by a leak of thousands of documents detailing billions of dollars of potential money laundering transactions, with the UK being branded as a “higher risk jurisdiction”.
Steward told reporters after the annual meeting that some institutions saw anti-money laundering (AML) protections as being unnecessary.
“What surprises me still is that there is a view in some quarters that anti-money laundering systems and controls is a lot of money for nothing in return, and it’s a huge bureaucratic exercise in red tape, rather than something which is really important,” he said.
“What that tells me is the point of AML controls somehow got lost and got missing from the challenge – an understanding that this is all about reducing predicate crime of a very serious nature from drug trafficking in this country to global terrorism.
“There’s a reason why we are working with so many other law enforcement agencies on tackling this issue, it’s because there’s so much of it, it really does need to be taken very seriously.
“So I’m not yet sure there is a strong enough unanimous view that this is really serious,” he added.