The Monetary Conduct Authority (FCA) has halted half of its cash laundering investigations in 2020.
The info comes from freedom of data request by regulation agency Eversheds Sutherland. It reveals the regulator stopping seven of its 14 investigations into cash laundering since January.
5 of the seven associated to felony investigations, with the remaining two mixing each civil and felony features.
Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market oversight on the FCA, mentioned in an April speech that the watchdog had numerous probes within the works.
Steward added that the FCA’s jurisdiction wanted to be “enlivened” to forestall it from turning into a white elephant.
The FCA’s annual report reveals it closed 185 instances between 2019 and 2020, with 646 nonetheless open. Solely 15 of the closed instances resulted in monetary penalties.
The period of time it takes the FCA to conclude a case rose from 17.5 months to 23.9 months. The common price per case rose to £229,000 from £103,400.
The regulator handed out a record level of fines in 2019, greater than six instances the quantity it charged companies in 2018.
An FCA spokesperson tells FinTech Futures that the watchdog is “dedicated” to making sure cash laundering laws are totally adhered to. They add it wouldn’t hesitate to take motion when guidelines are damaged.
The FCA’s method has modified to incorporate breaches that may give rise to both felony or civil proceedings. Its course of is to “make inquiries and assess the complete nature of the matter” earlier than deciding on motion.
The regulator will solely convey prosecutions “in probably the most egregious instances”.
“Investigations are progressing nicely and we anticipate we will probably be making choices on a few of them by the top of this 12 months,” the spokesperson says.
Claims that the FCA is attempting to cowl its personal again rose final month when it proposed a £10,000 compensation cap.
Antony Townsend, the FCA’s impartial claims commissioner, referred to as the cap “an express fettering of compensation for direct monetary loss”.
Townsend additionally criticised the timing and lack of a highlight placed on the eight-week session, which launched in July.
The commissioner mentioned the FCA’s scheme is just not clear sufficient and that some consider “its not primarily a compensation scheme”.