A New York regulator's crackdown on PricewaterhouseCoopers may effectively push the anti-money-laundering audit work of big consulting firms into the hands of smaller advisers, and the increased competition ultimately could benefit banks.

Besides fining Pricewaterhouse $25 million for helping Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ cleanse its records of illicit money transfers, state banking superintendent Benjamin Lawsky banned the firm from entering into business engagements with major banking institutions in New York for two years.

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