HSBC big guns to begin crackdown
Banking giant HSBC has appointed a team of heavyweights including a former UK tax chief as part of a crackdown on financial crime following its 1.9 billion dollar (£1.2 billion) money laundering settlement.
The move comes in the wake of HSBC's record settlement with US regulators last month over accusations the bank had allowed rogue states and drug cartels to launder billions of pounds through its US arm.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) ordered the bank to establish a committee and independent monitor to oversee anti-money laundering activities after the alleged breaches.
HSBC was accused by the US Senate of ignoring warnings and breaching safeguards that should have stopped the laundering of money from Mexico, Iran and Syria - which led to the resignation of head of compliance David Bagley.
The bank has since split its compliance department in two, hiring Bob Werner - former head of the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network - as head of financial crime compliance and group money laundering reporting officer.
Ruth Horgan, who joins from KPMG on April 2, will lead the new regulatory compliance division. Mr Werner and Ms Horgan will also sit on the new financial crime committee.
HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said the new committee will "provide invaluable guidance and advice as we strengthen our capabilities and enforce the highest standards, in particular in relation to combating financial crime". He added: "The calibre, status and experience of the individuals reinforce once more how seriously we are taking this."
Other members of the committee include Nick Fishwick, a former security and counter terrorism expert at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Leonard Schrank, previously head of Brussels-based global financial messaging system SWIFT; and Juan Zarate, former Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Combating Terrorism from 2005 to 2009, who was responsible for developing and implementing the US Government's counter-terrorism strategy.
The committee's remit covers governance, oversight and policy guidance, with a particular focus on spotting potential financial crime threats. It will meet at least four times a year and report on a quarterly basis to the board.