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AML Specialist SmartSearch Slams FinCen Leak

John Dobson, CEO at AML experts SmartSearch, has expressed outrage at the revelations contained in the FinCEN files of criminal cash being moved around by the world’s biggest financial institutions, including the UK’s HSBC. “This is nothing short of a betrayal for all those thousands of businesses doing their bit in the global fight against money laundering and financial fraud,” he said.

“If these documents can be believed, one of the world’s biggest banks has effectively turned a blind eye and enabled criminals to take full advantage. These revelations couldn’t have come at a worse time of course, with so many businesses reeling from the ongoing affects of the Covid 19 pandemic, and the extra security threats that has created. Events like these are hugely damaging for the banks involved but also for all the other banks who are trying to stamp out money laundering, and it cannot go unpunished.”

AxiomSL Expands in Europe with New Confinale Partnership

AxiomSL has partnered with Confinale, an IT consulting and software development company specializing in the banking sector, in a move intended to expand the firm’s presence in Switzerland, Germany and Liechtenstein. The collaboration will provide clients including the Swiss National Bank, Financial Markets Authority Liechtenstein, and Bank Centrale du Luxembourg with AxiomSL’s end-to-end risk and regulatory reporting solutions via Confinale’s integration ecosystem. The announcement comes just a few days after VP Bank, one of Liechtenstein’s largest banks, selected AxiomSL’s ControllerView platform as the foundation for compliance across its key centres of operation: Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Singapore and Switzerland.

SEC Approves Final Rules on Proxy Advisors

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has voted to adopt new rules requiring proxy advisors to provide companies with access to their voting advice at the same time as shareholders, following a protracted battle over the regulation of investment firms that has spanned several years. According to the SEC the new rules – which also tighten disclosure requirements for proxy advisors – will ensure that shareholders have “reasonable and timely access to more transparent, accurate and complete information on which to make voting decisions.”

SIX Launches Fully Delegated SFTR Reporting for Swiss Repo Market

The Swiss Stock Exchange’s SFTR reporting services is now live in synchronisation with the introduction of the SFTR regulation. Over 170 clients stand to benefit from this offering. The Swiss Stock Exchange automates the way it provides Unique Transaction Identifiers (UTI) creating a scale offering featuring SFTR-compliant and fully delegated reporting. For the delegated reporting, SIX has partnered with UnaVista, London Stock Exchange Group’s trade repository.

As SFTR is a European regulation, SIX partnered with Comyno, a consultancy firm based in Frankfurt. 

SmartSearch Launches US Operations

UK-based anti-money-laundering (AML) firm SmartSearch on July 14 launched operations in the US, following a period of sustained growth. According to CEO John Dobson: “We have developed a bespoke product for the American market so that US firms using SmartSearch have the same absolute confidence as those in the UK, that their AML checks are up-to-date and fully compliant with relevant legislation at all times.

The firm’s KYC and AML platform enables clients to perform full electronic ID verification and screening in just two seconds, and provides ongoing monitoring to alert users to any change in a client’s status. The platform has also recently incorporated biometric facial recognition for additional security, and promises “well-advanced plans” for further enhancements.

TriOptima Extends Collaboration with DTCC on SFTR

TriOptima, an infrastructure service that helps to lower costs and to mitigate risk in OTC derivatives markets, has extended data connectivity between The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) Global Trade Repository (GTR) service and TriOptima’s triResolve platform to help market participants validate their reported securities financing transactions as they prepare for SFTR compliance. Through the initiative, firms are able to compare and align DTCC GTR trade records with their reported data fields in triResolve, allowing them to identify and address any discrepancies, as well as amend reporting faster.

Under SFTR, set to come into effect for phase-one and two reporting on July 13, market participants are fully responsible for the accuracy of information when reporting their repo and securities lending transactions to trade repositories either directly, or through a delegated third party.

FINRA Fines Morgan Stanley for Incorrect Trading Data

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has fined Morgan Stanley $875,000 for failing to provide accurate trade data (also known as “blue sheets”) in an automated format when requested to do so by FINRA and the SEC. The regulator found that the bank had experienced significant failures in its blue sheet systems between 2014 and 2017, and made numerous deficient or inaccurate submissions. Morgan Stanley, which has not admitted or denied the charges, claims that human error was the cause of the inaccurate submissions.

Dutch Banks to Share Data in Fight Against Financial Crime

Dutch banks ING, ABN Amro, and Rabobank plan to join forces to share transaction data in a bid to reduce money laundering. Along with Volksbank and Triodos Bank they intend to launch a new agency to monitor all transactions, making it easier to detect unusual patterns. According to Dutch banking association NVB, around €16 billion laundered through the Netherlands every year.

TRAction Fintech Expands Alliance with UnaVista on Regulatory Reporting

Specialist regulatory reporting firm TRAction Fintech has expanded its existing collaborative partnership with UnaVista, the regulatory reporting platform of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), in a bid to simplify MiFID II, EMIR and SFTR reporting for FX and CFD brokers. The alliance is designed to enable easier integration of trading platforms with regulatory reporting systems, so that compliance can be achieved more efficiently. Quinn Perrott, co-CEO of TRAction Fintech comments, “Having used multiple different trade repositories we have a variety of experience and consider that UnaVista are of the highest standard in the market for usability and customer service. They combine the backing and foundation of London Stock Exchange Group with the agility and hands on approach of a fintech start-up.”

Treasury Announces Plans to Amend Benchmarks Regulation

The UK Government has confirmed plans to introduce new legislation to amend the Benchmarks Regulation to give the FCA more power to manage and direct an orderly wind-down of critical benchmarks such as LIBOR. The new powers proposed will be available where the FCA has found that a critical benchmark is not representative of the market it seeks to measure and representativeness will not be restored.