Nearly $1bn was issued in AML, KYC and data privacy fines during H1 2021

A total of $937.7m has been issued in fines for non-compliance with anti-money laundering, know your customer and data privacy regulations, in H1 2021.

This figure was deployed across a total of 85 breaches, which is a year-on-year drop of 26%. The stats come from Fenergo, a client lifecycle management and digital transformation company, after its analysis of global financial institution fines in the first six months of 2021.

Fenergo claims the average value of enforcement actions against financials institutions for AML-related compliance breaches was 40% lower than 2020.

One of the biggest fine was issued to US-headquartered retail bank, which totalled $390m for breaches of the Bank Secrecy Act between 2008 and 2014.

North America issude the largest share of fines, totalling $716m with an average value of $29.8m – the average value in Europe was $4.9m. Switzerland was the second largest fine issuer, distributing $85m in penalties. This was followed by Norway with $48m, the UK with $32m and the UAE with $12m.

The report also states that in H1 2021, three fines amounting to $9.1m were dispensed by the  Office of Foreign Assets Control, going to a bank, digital assets firm and a payment processing provider. These fines were given for violating sanctions related to Syria, the report said.

Of the fines, global data privacy penalties amounted to $7.6m. Among these, Agencia Española de Protección de Datos issued its largest ever fine, which was valued at $7.3m.

There were six fines issued, valued at $14.3m, related to gambling and gold trading.

Five individuals were fined $8.3m for roles in AML violations at financial institutions.

Finally, the report states enforcement action of $79.7m was taken against a Swiss wealth management firm for involvement in channelling proceeds of bribery associated with FIFA and broadcasting rights for major football tournaments from 2013-15.

Fenergo Global Director of Financial Crime Rachel Woolley said, “In recent years, the enforcement actions levied against financial institutions have been at record highs as a number of major scandals were investigated and concluded by regulators. This year we’re seeing something markedly different, with the total value of fines issued at the halfway point of the year much lower than last year. That’s not to say we won’t see the full year totals reach their typical levels with conclusions due across several significant AML cases.

“We continue to see enforcement action driven, at least in part, by recent FATF activity as countries facing scrutiny clampdown on perceived weaknesses in their regulatory regimes. We’re also seeing the continuation of the trend in fines aimed at non-financial firms such as gambling companies as regulators look to close the net on criminals.”

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