The first half of 2020 has seen an uptick in anti-money laundering (AML) fine values, globally totaling $706m (£539m) compared with 2019’s full-year-total of $444m (£339m).
This is according to Duff & Phelps’s latest Global Enforcement Review. However, the global totals of AML fines in 2019 and the first half of 2020 are down on the two previous years and still below the yearly average of fine levels for the four-year period from 2015 to 2018, $1,871m (£1,428m).
Duff and Phelps said the sharp drop in AML fine values between 2019 and 2018 came despite only a small drop in the number of cases—a decrease of just 14% in the number of significant cases.
The report also highlights the four key AML failings from 2015-2020 that regulators across the world have consistently identified through the fines they imposed:
- Customer due diligence (115 significant cases)
- AML management (109 cases)
- Suspicious activity monitoring (82 cases)
- Compliance monitoring and oversight (62 cases)
Nick Bayley, managing director and head of UK regulatory consulting at Duff and Phelps, said: “Despite the uptick in AML fine amounts in 2020 we are still seeing fewer massive fines being imposed in the United States.
“This is very unlikely to reflect regulators attaching any less importance to AML compliance, it may simply be that the very largest financial institutions may be beginning to get their AML compliance in order, at last.”
He added: “Although we do see some big institutions repeatedly receiving major fines for their AML failings, the sheer size of the fines that have been imposed for these failings and the associated huge cost of remediation means many have seemingly now learned their lesson.”