‘Big Four’ member consultancy firm Ernst & Young (EY) has repaid banking group Santander £15m after it failed to help the Spanish lender improve its anti-money laundering (AML) controls, reports suggest.
EY has agreed to terminate its consulting contract and will refund the sum to Santander’s UK business after failings in its anti-financial crime work for the bank, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Consultant EY was one of several advisers enlisted by Santander to work on ‘Project Morgan’, which was set up to address deficiencies in the bank’s AML controls.
However, sources suggest the work “went badly wrong over an extended period”, resulting in EY’s involvement being terminated and the consultancy giant agreeing to the financial settlement as compensation.
The project’s failure has been followed by the prospect of cutbacks in EY’s UK financial crime advisory team, according to insiders. The team currently has 150 members.
Santander was fined a whopping £107.7m by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in December 2022 for “serious and persistent gaps” in its AML controls over the five-year period between 2012 and 2017.
Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, said: “Santander’s poor management of their anti-money laundering systems and their inadequate attempts to address the problems created a prolonged and severe risk of money laundering and financial crime.
“As part of our commitment to prevent and reduce financial crime, we continue to take action against firms which fail to operate proper anti-money-laundering controls.”
The Spanish bank has invested over £700m in a “major change programme to transform [its] bank-wide financial crime framework” in the past five years, according to reports.
Compliance Solutions for Regulated Businesses
At AML & Compliance, we understand precisely what is required from all regulated businesses and have the experience to help devise and produce an effective AML compliance programme to fit your needs.
We can help organisations of all shapes and sizes from across different sectors to undertake a risk assessment to ensure that they are compliant with AML regulations and have the necessary policies and procedures in place to avoid any breaches.
A risk assessment provides valuable insight into a business when performed correctly. Along with an overview of risk, these crucial assessments also highlight issues within the business, so it is essential to undertake a risk assessment properly. All of a company’s building blocks must be considered, including its staff, clients, operations, and finances.
By working with AML & Compliance, a business can be assured that we will bring the required level of knowledge and expertise needed to perform a risk assessment which has value to the business and is not simply a box-ticking exercise. Our team can also provide a full range of services that include:
- Compliance Policies.
Our services focus on businesses’ Anti-Money Laundering and Regulator requirements through the implementation of effective policies, procedures, training, and consultancy. We also provide continued monitoring of staff and ongoing training to ensure that everyone within a business is aware of the latest requirements and complies with their responsibilities.
Get in Touch
If you believe your business may be at risk, or wish to confirm your firm is achieving the required standard of AML and Compliance, we can help. We offer a full range of services focused on ensuring businesses across all regulated sectors create, maintain and evidence their compliance with the requirements of their regulators and legislation.
Our Packaged Services include:
These packages have been designed to provide a core compliance service to regulated businesses in the most cost-effective way to manage and control their AML and Compliance processes.
We adopt a sensible and pragmatic approach to fees, ensuring that we are competitive and always add value. As necessary, we will agree on packaged services to control cost and enable clients to spread payments to alleviate cash flow, yet ensure services are provided when needed.