StanChart probes customers' wealth

Business | Bloomberg and Stella Zhai 17 Sep 2019

Standard Chartered (2888), fined billions of dollars since 2012 for regulatory violations, has found that it cannot explain how some of its wealthiest clients acquired their money, and is reviewing about 8,000 customer accounts to ensure that it is fully compliant with anti-money-laundering rules.

A Dubai regulatory review two years ago found that the bank didn't have documentation to show the sources of some clients' wealth and in some cases lacked even basic data such as current addresses and phone numbers.

Similar failings have been identified at major hubs including Singapore, Hong Kong and London, reported Bloomberg.

In April, Britain's financial watchdog fined the lender 102 million pounds (HK$992.4 million) for "serious and sustained shortcomings" in its client due diligence and monitoring, including in the United Arab Emirates between 2009 and 2014.

The bank's private banking clients include so-called politically exposed persons - individuals with prominent political or public-sector functions - such as Middle Eastern royals, and African and Asian politicians.

One client was a member of the Saudi royal family arrested in the kingdom's anti-corruption drive in 2017.

The private bank has some US$65 billion (HK$507 billion) of assets and accounted for about 4 percent of the operating income of the firm in the first half.

There is no evidence the bank was involved in wrongdoing, said Bloomberg.

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