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Insight

2014

2015: an emphasis on conduct within an uncertain landscape


As we enter 2015 financial institutions are confronted with an uncertain and shifting economic and political landscape. 2014 has seen slower than hoped for global economic expansion with stalling Chinese growth and the burgeoning Rouble crisis, while the current situation in Greece places the future of the Eurozone in the balance. Meanwhile, for UK financial institutions, political uncertainty abounds ahead of the next general election.....More

Compliance Carols


This is the time of year to roll out the platitudes and look back over the past 12 months, at the high points and low points and this blog is no exception.

OECD report shines light into bribery in international business


The OECD Foreign Bribery Report, released earlier this month, provides some interesting insights into corruption within international business. Not surprisingly, it highlights the usual sectors as hotspots for bribery and corruption activity. Drawing on data from the 427 foreign bribery cases that have been concluded since 1999 (when the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention first entered into force) the report finds that the extractive sector accounted for 19% of these, construction 15%, and transportation and storage a further 15%.....More

Corruption Perceptions Index 2014


I went to the UK launch of the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index on Wednesday night at Skinners' Hall. As expected some countries have gone up and some down in the rankings. A quick summary for you…

Enforcement: Change the Record


It’s the same old song. Not The Four Tops classic (although you’ll probably be humming the tune for the rest of the day now) but my feelings about an article I recently read that has resulted in a depressingly familiar stance by an international organisation.....More

South East Asia is about to become borderless


South East Asia is about to become borderless; someone is keeping tabs on the North Korean leadership apparatus and campaign financing is under the spotlight.

AML and CTF: Are controls designed to mitigate risk also hampering firms?


The ‘over-zealous’ application of foreign money laundering rules means British banks are facing risks of slower growth abroad, while also meaning weaker economies are facing exclusion from global financial markets. Or at least, this was the signal sent by the BoE deputy governor, Andrew Bailey, on 4 November 2014, who said:....More

Regulating culture


In a recent speech at the New York Federal Reserve, Barclays Chairman Sir David Walker argued that: “Regulators cannot and should not try to regulate culture, which is a matter for the individual entity”.

The winds of change have rolled in with the Asian Autumn


Since early October, students in Hong Kong have protested against China’s reneged promise of free and fair elections. This coming from the country who protested last when its citizens lost money en masse due to the misselling of minibonds in 2008. They used to say that HK only protests if the people lose their money. Clearly, this is no longer the case.....More

Fines and financial stability


2014 has so far been a year of massive regulatory fines. The US authorities in particular have upped the ante in their actions against large financial institutions. Amongst the highest profile of these was the $9bn fine issued against BNP Paribas in July, which led recently to the resignation of the bank's chairman, Boudouin Prot.

Organised criminals showing a greater appetite for food crime


In this age of increasingly enlightened, engaged and empowered consumers, last year’s horse meat scandal had many choking in outrage on their locally-sourced, organic, gluten-free cornflakes. The episode provided a clear red flag for potential shortcomings in the governance of global food supply chains, and the greater scrutiny that the food system has been subjected to by authorities in the aftermath of the scandal has begun to reveal the true extent of the market for counterfeit food.....More

News from across the pond – update on the requirement for regulatory risk management and board train ...


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the primary regulatory agency for national banks and Federal savings associations in the US, has provided final guidance on higher standards for risk management in larger banks.

Calling Big Banks to aid financial inclusion and raise their social kudos


Last week, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit the headlines with his promise of bank accounts for every household in the country, a bid to offer help to the country’s poor. The initiative is part of a movement towards financial inclusion, which means making financial services accessible by people who do not have formal identification documents, fixed abodes or even known dates of birth.....More

How corrupt is the UK?


The conviction of three people in June for conspiracy to commit bribery relating to match fixing had me thinking (again)… can we use the number of corruption convictions as an indicator on how corrupt the UK actually is?

European governments are now the main source of terrorist financing, according to the New York Times


An investigation published by the New York Times recently provided a fascinating read for anyone involved in countering the financing of terrorism (CFT). While it has long been believed that counterfeiting provides the primary source of financing for terrorists, the Times report suggests that ransom payments have now surpassed it.....More

A few smoking guns, but no fires spotted as yet - charting the progress of anti-corruption in Asia


Influential, wealthy and ‘lawyered-up’ entities are settling bribery cases with prosecutors by throwing money at the case in order to avoid admitting guilt or proving innocence. What message does this send out to the world?

Terrorist financing, Singapore crime figures and cultural change afoot


This month’s APAC bulletin from the ICA looks at the massive and sudden resurgence of terrorist financing threat from the Middle East, we glimpse inside the Singaporean financial sector and comment on how APAC financial institutions could get the jump on compliance culture changes spearheaded in Europe and the US.....More

BNP Paribas: this time it's personal


I wrote recently about the emerging phenomenon of guilty pleas in US regulatory enforcement cases, and their apparent lack of substance following the Credit Suisse plea. In the Credit Suisse case no individuals were punished, no licenses revoked, no activities suspended, and the bank itself confirmed that the impact of the guilty plea on business had been "very limited", leaving many to wonder whether the bank's plea served any purpose other than to add some window dressing to an admittedly large fine.

Exciting developments afoot for the ICA Diploma in Compliance


The regulatory environment, and consequently the role of compliance, has changed significantly in recent years. There has always been significant overlap between regulatory compliance and risk management - the compliance function’s fundamental purpose after all, is to manage the firm’s regulatory risk. And more recently we have seen how a firm’s governance, culture and organisational behaviour are core to how all risk is managed within the firm.....More

Are Thai PEPs trying to smurf their cash out of the country?


The military coup in Thailand is well publicized. As of May 31st, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the junta chief has declared he will remain in charge of Thailand until the country is ready to elect a new civilian PM via democratic elections. He estimates this will mean at least 15 more months of army control for Thailand. So far, it does not appear to be making much of a difference to tourism. I saw no changes on the small island I live on, nor in Bangkok where bars, cafes and street side massage chairs were open after ten and full of customers, nor on the Thai Burmese border where farang pubs are closing the doors at curfew, but keeping the customers inside.

Guilty pleas: still too big to jail?


Recent reports suggest that BNP Paribas may be facing fines potentially in excess of US $5bn for sanctions violations and, moreover, that the bank is being pressed to plead guilty to criminal charges as part of any resolution.....More

Do you have an exam strategy?


You may not have even thought about a strategy for your ICA exam yet but having just sat an examination myself, I thought I would share my experiences.

Who are China’s ‘problem rich’? (1)


The Hurun Report has been producing an annual list of China’s wealthiest people for the past 15 years, based upon estimations of how rich someone is according to the information made public about them. Both the Forbes and Hurun lists agree that Wang Jianlin is China’s richest man with somewhere between USD14bn and USD22bn under his control. Putting aside the trifling USD8bn difference for a moment, a new small but significantly wealthy and connected group of people has emerged in China. The so called ‘problem rich’ are under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.....More

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Barclays, Dahabshiil and De-risking


In May 2013 Barclays said it would close the bank accounts of Somali remittance company Dahabshiil and a number of other money transfer companies (between 100 and 250 depending on what you read). This was a considered decision as part of Barclays’ risk-based approach to its obligations under UK anti-money laundering legislation.

Insight into the role of a Compliance Manager in Charity Banking


Transforming lives is not normally in a compliance person’s job description, but here in CAF Bank, our work allows charities to flourish and enable their transformational work. I’ve always given to charity, so this role sits very well with my own ethos.....More

How to assess and improve your compliance management system


In recent years there has been a great deal of focus on the individual competencies for individuals working in a compliance function (for instance see the National Occupational Standards of Competence produced by the UK Financial and Legal Skills Partnership in association with the ICA).

Regulation… the need for speed?


High Frequency Trading (HFT) has been attracting considerable attention this month following the publication of “Flash Boys”, in which bond salesman turned financial writer Michael Lewis suggests that “US stock markets are now rigged by traders who go to astonishing lengths to gain a millisecond edge over their rivals”. With the book’s publication coming just days before the European Parliament voted to adopt HFT regulations under Mifid, the topic of HFT has been generating headlines on both sides of the pond.....More

APAC nations learning compliance lessons from each other


When someone asked me to cover this region for the first time, I thought it was ambitious. The more I learned about Asia Pacific (APAC), the more that statement made sense. Financial services compliance in APAC is moving at both light speed and a snail's pace, depending on where you are standing.

What does it mean to be Professional Member of the ICA?


For many people membership of the ICA is a natural progression after successfully completing an ICA diploma. Becoming a Professional Member of the ICA brings certain benefits such as access to our quarterly journal, inCOMPLIANCE; continued access to the ICA website and the wealth of resource it contains; discounts at various trade events and conferences… and of course the professional designation ‘MICA’. But what does professional membership say about you?....More

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Will an ICA qualification help me get a job?


When I go to briefing sessions about ICA qualifications and speak to delegates about their career aspirations , one of the more frequent questions I get asked is “will the qualification get me a job in the area I am interested in?” Indeed in the last two or three years this question has increased significantly in popularity due to the rise in recruitment opportunities in compliance and related roles.

Co-operative offers lessons for Board functioning and composition


Evidence published last week by the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) in connection with its Project Verde inquiry highlights again both the importance of good corporate governance and the fact that, for some in the financial sector, achieving it remains a struggle.....More

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Writing ICA assignments - 5 top tips


Here at ICT we recognise that the assignment and exam process can be a challenge, particularly if you haven’t studied in a while and are also trying to get to grips with the subject matter. So we try our best to help.

Setting standards


Last week Sir Richard Lambert published a consultation paper on the creation of a new professional standards body for the banking industry in the UK, designed to improve standards of conduct and the culture of banks.....More

Combatting global corruption


As I left a bright and sunny London yesterday afternoon having attended the Chatham House conference titled ‘Combating Global Corruption, Sharing Standards and Common Practice’ and shared the company of the good and the wise, I left encouraged because of the very considerable efforts that are evidently being made by law enforcement and other interested parties to reduce the demand and supply side of graft and corruption, but equally concerned by the apparent lack of action and regulation of alternative money transfer arrangements.

Regulatory reform: may the forth be with you...


Last week an application was made to grant the Forth Bridge “UNESCO world heritage site” status. Of course, legend has it that no sooner is the bridge painted than the job of repainting it has to begin again... which seems a fitting theme as world leaders have been gathering in Davos to discuss, among other things, the seemingly unending task of regulatory reform.....More

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