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Monday, 11 July 2011

Moore Stephens welcomes FSA guidance on financial crime

Leading accountant and insurance industry adviser Moore Stephens has welcomed the publication by the Financial Services Authority of a guide to financial crime. It says the FSA guide draws together all the different strands of contingencies which represent a threat to the financial integrity and operational efficiency of firms in the insurance sector. And it adds that firms should regard the guide as a wake-up call ahead of the likely implementation of corresponding legislation in due course.

The FSA guidance, CP11/12: Financial Crime – A Guide for Firms, provides advice on steps that firms can take to reduce their exposure to the risk of financial crime, and seeks to improve transparency and accessibility to information within firms in the financial services sector, in the process underlining the FSA’s commitment to tackling financial crime. It focuses on areas in which the FSA has conducted thematic work, which has recently highlighted a number of frequently recurring problems in insurance firms, including poor risk control culture, poor reporting and ineffective governance.

Moore Stephens Compliance Consultant, Jonathan Steward, says, ““Firms in the insurance sector are in the business of assessing, managing and underwriting the risks faced by their clients, but may not always be aware of some of the potential emerging compliance risks which they themselves face, particularly where these arise from the implementation of new laws. The threat to insurance businesses from financial crime is in fact very real, and is growing. Moreover, it has the potential to undermine the financial security of firms, and also to damage their commercial effectiveness.

“The publication of the FSA guide is very timely, particularly given the entry into force of the Bribery Act 2101 on July 1 this year. The good thing about the guide is that it draws together every aspect of the risk posed by financial crime, and provides guidance on how firms can assess and improve their existing approach to meeting their legal and regulatory obligations. For firms in the insurance sector, this is a good opportunity to test systems and controls, and to analyse whether their financial and risk management procedures – including third-party payment arrangements - are likely to be FSA-compliant.

“The guide does not contain rules, and imposes no new requirements. But firms would be well-advised to use it as a template for reviewing their systems and controls, ahead of the probable implementation of regulation.”

Moore Stephens LLP is noted for a number of industry specialisations and is widely acknowledged as a leading shipping and insurance adviser. Moore Stephens LLP is a member firm of Moore Stephens International Limited, one of the world's leading accounting and consulting associations, with 638 offices of independent member firms in 97 countries, employing 20,588 people and generating revenues in 2010 of $2.15 billion.

For more information:
Jonathan Steward, Moore Stephens LLP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7334 9191

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