Coutts & Co., a private bank that serves high profile customers such as Queen Elizabeth II, was hit with a $13.9 million fine for shortcomings related to its anti-money laundering practices.
The Financial Services Authority found after a visit to Coutts in October 2010 that the company lacked "robust controls" when starting relationships with high risk customers and did not consistently apply appropriate monitoring of these relationships.
The independent agency said Monday that it identified deficiencies in nearly 75% of the company's "politically exposed persons" and high-risk customer files that were reviewed. Politically exposed persons are individuals whose prominent position in public life make them vulnerable to corruption.
Problems included Coutts' failing to gather sufficient information to establish the source of wealth and funds for its prospective politically exposed persons and other high risk customers. Coutts also did not identify adverse intelligence about prospective and existing high risk customers properly and did not scrutinize transactions made through high risk customer accounts, the FSA said.
As a result of the review, Coutts is making a number of improvements, the FSA said. The fine was originally 12.5 million pounds but was reduced by 30% since Coutts settled early, the FSA said.
Coutts is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.