SmartSearch: NatWest case shows aggressive approach from FCA

Jessica Bird

May 26, 2021

pandora papers

Ahead of NatWest becoming the first bank to appear in court over money-laundering breaches today, John Dobson, CEO at anti-money laundering business SmartSearch, has said this demonstrates a more aggressive approach being taken by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

He added that the proceedings highlight the need for banks to do more to combat money laundering.

Dobson said: “At the moment 99% of all ill-gotten gains are successfully laundered by criminals, and banks need to do much more to prevent this.

“Whether through naivety or lack of attention to detail, there have been too many gaps in security allowing activity to go undetected.

“Change has to come from the top down and I’m sure whatever happens as a result of this case will instigate significant change within NatWest’s processes.

“Banks need to be much more proactive in doing away with outdated systems and methods of ID verification, and invest in technology that is fit for purpose.”

Dobson explained that technology should be the answer to taking a stricter approach to anti-money laundering measures.

He said: “The tech has long been available to quickly and efficiently verify customers and prevent this type of activity, banks just need to adopt it.

“Without disrupting the customers’ experience, this software will flag the cases that need further attention and save the banks time and effort.

“Banks can get set-up quickly and easily, so there is no excuse for them not to shore-up their anti-money laundering defences.”

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