Happy New Year! Welcome to the January edition of REG Reviews. This month we look at HSBC’s fine for AML failings, and the effect of the FCA on motor insurance premiums. Read this along with our usual update from REG and the REG Tech sector.
Main News Stories
HSBC Bank agree to £64m Fine for AML failings
After a 30% discount, the FCA has fined HSBC £63.9 million for failings in its anti-money laundering processes. The bank uses automated processes to monitor hundreds of millions of transactions a month to identify possible financial crime. However, last month the FCA found that three key parts of HSBC’s transaction monitoring systems showed serious weaknesses over a period of eight years from 31 March 2010 to 31 March 2018.
In particular, HSBC failed to:
- consider whether the scenarios used to identify indicators of money laundering, or terrorist financing, covered relevant risks until 2014; and carry out timely risk assessments for new scenarios after 2016;
- appropriately test and update the parameters within the systems that were used to determine whether a transaction was indicative of potentially suspicious activity;
- check the accuracy and completeness of the data being fed into, and contained within, monitoring systems.
The reason HSBC were able to receive a 30% discount was due to them not disputing the FCA’s findings and agreed to settle at the earliest possible opportunity. Otherwise, the FCA would have imposed a financial penalty of £91m. HSBC has undertaken a large-scale remediation programme into its anti-money laundering processes, which was supervised by the FCA.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said:
‘HSBC’s transaction monitoring systems were not effective for a prolonged period despite the issue being highlighted on numerous occasions. These failings are unacceptable and exposed the bank and community to avoidable risks, especially as the remediation took such a long time. HSBC continued their remediation to address these weaknesses after the relevant period.’
Happy New Year from REG Technologies!
The REG Technologies Team would like to thank our customers for another successful year. In 2021 we formalised our hybrid working policies and continued to maintain an excellent level of service, with our software maintaining 100% uptime. We will continue to listen to our customers and the wider market as we develop our software further to meet developing industry challenges. Happy 2022!
SMEs want better information and engagement from their insurance brokers
In a recent survey over the New Year, more than half (55%) of UK-based SMEs are unsure, or do not think their insurance broker, provides the most competitive or best quotes to suit their commercial needs, according to Hubb. The survey of over 1,000 senior decision-makers from UK SMEs also found that around 22% of respondents think they would benefit from better communication and engagement from their insurance brokers.
Society of Insurance Broking on hiring young talent and fair pricing.
In the New Year, The Society of Insurance Broking revealed the challenges and opportunities they believe to be facing the insurance industry over the next 12 months. They highlighted the importance of attracting young talent into the industry.
Kevin Hancock, Chair of the Society of Insurance Broking and Managing Director of Yutree Insurance, said: “we will need to review and refresh our product offerings, so we meet the regulator’s [standards/requirements] around fair pricing and product governance”.
Motor Insurance prices soar following new FCA regulatory reforms
The cost of motor insurance has risen by more than £100 so far this year due to insurers looking to claw back lost profits following the FCA’s new regulatory pricing reform, which came into force on 1 January 2022, according to The Mirror. The newspaper reported that a fictional motor insurance quote, for a 35-year-old driving a Vauxhall Corsa, on 31 December 2021 was £628 per year from Hastings Direct’s telematics arm YouDrive, however this jumped to £728.95 on New Year’s Day.
FCA commences criminal proceedings in relation to Collateral Ltd
Criminal proceedings have commenced against the two former directors of Collateral (UK) Ltd (Collateral), Peter Currie and Andrew Currie, who each face two charges under the Fraud Act 2006 and one charge under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The FCA has stated that the Curries, who are brothers, were continuously leading investors to believe that Collateral was authorised and regulated by the FCA to operate as a peer-to-peer lender, knowing this was false.
Further allegations against the brothers suggest that not too long after collateral was asked by the FCA to cease conduct of all regulated activities in January 2012, and shortly before the company ceased trading, the brothers dishonestly abused their positions by transferring funds to an unrelated company, and transferred further sums that they knew or suspected were the proceeds of criminal activity into the bank accounts of Andrew Currie. Peter and Andrew Currie are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on 26 January 2022.
REG Technologies successfully migrates all customers to latest software
During December 2021 REG Technologies successfully migrated all users to our latest software (REG Network) after closing down legacy platforms. The means that in 2022 customers will no longer be able to access legacy platform ‘REG GI’. All connections, documents and data are available in the REG Network and our Customer Service Team is on hand to help you with any questions.
MGA Tradewise enters administration
Tradewise, a North London national network of insurance brokers offering Motor Trade Insurance, has entered administration. The company confirmed in December 2021 that it would stop binding new business or renewals in the new year after being unable to renew its reinsurance programme with Berkshire Hathaway.
MGA, First Underwriting forms £1 Billion deal with Randall & Quilter Accredited
This month, First Underwriting; the London-based specialist MGA apart of Kingfisher UK Holdings, announced a five year capacity deal to place approximately £1 billion of gross written premium into the market. Working in partnership with Accredited Insurance, and with broker McGill and Partners, the deal will provide capacity for its range of specialty products. The extended partnership with Accredited will continue to help deliver on First Underwriting’s strategy to be a total solution for its broking partners and will support new product launches planned for 2022.
Viola Money Limited enters administration
Viola Money, an authorised electronic money institution authorised by the FCA under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (EMRs), has entered administration. On 21st December 2021, a special administration order was made by the Court in relation to Viola under the Payment and Electronic Money Institution Insolvency Regulations 2021. Appointed as joint special administrators are Edward George Boyle and James Robert Bennett of Interpath Advisory. The special administration process includes provisions to facilitate the return of customer funds by the special administrators.
The application for the special administration was made by the FCA and follows requirements imposed on Viola on 14 December 2021, which required it to cease all regulated electronic money and payment services. These requirements were imposed because the FCA identified a number of serious concerns around the way that Viola operated its business and prevented the firm from dealing on behalf of its clients.
Viola’s special administrators are responsible for managing claims against the firm and distributing funds back to customers where possible. The special administrators are required to provide a report to creditors within 8 weeks of their appointment which will include details of their proposals and how customers should make a claim.