UK’s Financial Conduct Authority hands out £568m worth of fines in 2021
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority handed out £568 million worth of fines last year.
This figure is nearly three times as much as 2020, in which £192 million worth of fines were levied.
The most substantial penalty in 2021 was levied against UK banking giant NatWest, fined £264 million for 3 offences of failing to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations Act of 2007, the first bank to face such charges.
However, this fine will not appear in the FCA’s statutory accounts as it was not levied by the FCA itself but rather by the Court following the FCA’s successful criminal prosecution of the bank.
Other banking giants that the regulatory agency came down on include Credit Suisse, fined £147 million for financial crime and anti-bribery and corruption failings in the investment banking sector, and HSBC, fined £63.9 million for breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations Act of 2007 related to financial crime in the retail bank sector.
Lloyd’s Bank and Halifax were also hit with fines of £91 million for customer communication breaches of the FCA’s own code within the general insurance and protection sector.
The scrutiny of these large financial services giants formed part of the FCA’s broader strategy to protect consumers from harm, enhance the integrity of the UK’s financial system and promote competition.
The FCA says it is continuing to adapt to a post-Brexit, data-driven financial services sector in the UK, the shift to a net-zero economy and the continuing effects of the pandemic.
As part of this strategy, the FCA says it has pushed for changes to the regulation of crypto-assets, challenging crypto asset firms who require registration for money laundering purposes. The agency has also set out plans for its use of data, which will mean the FCA collects data more effectively and uses algorithms to identify risks to consumers or markets more quickly.