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2 September 2014

Regulatory risk getting "bigger and bigger" for banks

Content team

The risk posed by failing to comply with legal regulations is increasing rapidly for banks, an economic expert has claimed.

According to Roger McCormick, a law professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the number of penalties being imposed on organisations in the sector is "getting bigger and bigger".

Prof McCormick discussed the issue with the Financial Times, as he has been carrying out detailed research on the actions regulators are taking against banks.

In what was originally intended as a short-term project, he complied a team of researchers to look into this in order to see how the banking sector has changed following the 2008 financial crisis.

However, such was the level of penalties being handed out that Prof McCormick decided to turn the scheme into a full-time research centre.

Titled the Law and Financial Markets Project, the initiative has found the world's ten leading banks have paid out a combined £100 billion in fines between 2008 and the end of last year.

These penalties have been handed out for actions such as money laundering, sanctions violations, mis-selling of subprime mortgages and bonds and rate rigging.

A former leading European regulator told the Financial Times: "What is happening now is astonishing. If you had asked regulators a few years ago to predict how big the post-crisis penalties might be, our predictions would have been wrong - by digits."

Prof McCormick's warning is not the first regarding a regulatory clampdown on the world's major banks.

Last month saw the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network release a statement reminding financial institutions of the importance of anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. Meanwhile, recruitment firm BrightPool has reported a 54 per cent increase in AML hiring by UK banks over the past 12 months.

The latter's managing director Angela Hickmore told Recruitment International this recruitment boost has been prompted by the fact regulators are "willing to take a stick" to those banks who fail to comply with their requirements.
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