Denmark is proposing greater independence and more demanding qualifications for bankers hired to prevent money laundering in an attempt to avoid more Danske Bank-style scandals.
A report from the country’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) says supervisory boards should be in routine, direct contact with the heads of their anti-laundering departments - and they should be the only ones with the power to dismiss them. It adds that senior managers should have at least five years’ experience combating laundering and, in order to prevent any possible conflicts of interest, should not have any other responsibilities.
The report comes almost two years after Danske Bank – Denmark’s biggest bank – was in the headlines when it was discovered that suspicious transactions involving an estimated 200 billion euros had passed through its small branch in Estonia.
The FSA has warned that while the larger institutions are strengthening their anti-money laundering measures the smaller banks may now be at greater risk. It is an argument that needs to be heeded. As the focus of regulation grows ever tighter, those seeking to launder money will be looking for any signs of weakness that could be exploited. This will mean that the banks that have not ensured their controls are sufficiently robust will be the ones who find themselves targeted by opportunists seeking to channel their funds through the banking system.