Press Release

Guaranty Trust Bank UK reaches settlement with the FCA in connection with historic AML controls

On 10 January 2023, Guaranty Trust Bank UK Limited (GTBank UK) has reached settlement with the FCA, accepting findings in relation to historic Anti-Money Laundering (AML) controls in its operations in the period October 2014 to July 2019.

The Bank has cooperated fully with the FCA investigation and has agreed a penalty sum of GBP7,671,800, which has been calculated by reference to a proportion of the revenues of GTBank UK over the relevant period and includes a 30% discount for early settlement.

The FCA’s investigation focused on GTBank UK’s AML controls and steps taken by GTBank UK to remediate these to ensure they operated in line with the relevant requirements. The findings are final, and no further action is anticipated in respect of this matter. The FCA acknowledged in its findings that GTBank UK has spent considerable time and resource in order to bring its AML standards up to the required level.

Commenting on the issue, Managing Director of GTBank UK, Mr. Gbenga Alade, said: “As a responsible financial services institution that is committed to best practices, GTBank UK takes its AML obligations extremely seriously. We note with sincere regret the FCA’s findings regarding AML control gaps in our operations in the past and we are very sorry for this.” He further stated; “We would like to assure all our stakeholders and the general public that necessary steps have been taken to address and resolve the identified gaps. Whilst there was no direct customer impairment arising from the period under review and the FCA’s findings do not include any instances of suspected money laundering, we have since reinforced our AML control framework and implemented changes in our AML processes in line with best practice with a view to ensuring that the highest standards are maintained in our operations.”

The Guaranty Trust Banking Group, including GTBank UK, is fully committed to the fight against all forms of financial crime and to continuing to meet all applicable financial crime regulations and legislation globally. Our AML policies and controls, together with our overall risk management strategy, are regularly reviewed and revised to ensure that they remain relevant and current in line with the evolving regulatory requirements.

Media enquiries: enquiries@gtbankuk.com


GTBank UK Statement

On 10 January 2023, GTBank UK announced that it had reached settlement with the FCA, accepting findings in relation to historic anti-money laundering (AML) controls in its operations and agreeing to pay a penalty of GBP7,671,800 which includes a 30% discount for early settlement.

Commenting on the issue, Managing Director of GTBank UK, Mr. Gbenga Alade, said: “As a responsible financial services institution that is committed to best practices, GTBank UK takes its AML obligations extremely seriously. We note with sincere regret the FCA’s findings regarding Anti-Money Laundering (AML) control gaps in our operations in the past and we are very sorry for this.” He further stated: “We would like to assure all our stakeholders and the general public that necessary steps have been taken to address and resolve the identified gaps. Whilst there was no direct customer impairment arising from the period under review and the FCA’s findings do not include any instances of suspected money laundering, we have since reinforced our AML control framework and implemented changes in our AML processes in line with best practice with a view to ensuring that the highest standards are maintained in our operations.”

Why has GTBank UK accepted this Settlement?

Following the FCA’s investigation into its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) controls during the period of October 2014 to July 2019, GTBank UK agreed to a settlement as part of the process of addressing historic issues and against a background of more recent improvements to its AML framework. 

The investigations focused on gaps in GTBank UK’s AML processes in a period dating back to 2014 and running to a point in 2019 when GTBank had carried out significant remediation in relation to these matters.

What markets were impacted?

The FCA’s findings focused on our business operations in the United Kingdom only and does not apply to our subsidiaries outside of the UK.

Why did this happen?

The FCA found that some of our historic AML controls and processes did not operate in line with relevant regulatory requirements. We have since taken the necessary steps to address the FCA’s observed weaknesses

How does this impact your customers?

There was no direct customer impairment. We however recognise that effective AML controls inspire customer trust and ensure better outcomes for communities where we operate.

What steps have you made in improvements to GTBank UK’s AML framework?

In summary, we have enhanced our AML control framework through a comprehensive remediation programme to address the specific issues identified in the FCA’s findings and obtained specialist advice and review from external advisors. As relevant to the FCA’s findings, these steps have included enhancements to our AML policies, to our procedures relating to on boarding, customer due diligence, ongoing monitoring, and other AML related processes and enhancements to staff training. We have also conducted a comprehensive programme of work to review and as necessary remediate our customer files, which have been subject to review by external consultants.

We have also continued to invest in people and systems to ensure sustained adherence to our AML controls and to protect our customers and the communities where we operate. In the last seven years, we have made significant infrastructure investments in enhancing our AML control framework. For example, in the last three years alone, we have invested over £10m in transaction monitoring and screening platforms to transform our control framework across the Group. We have also made significant investments to staff training. This has included providing our staff with further specialist training from external experts, developing our approach to internally led AML training and enhancing our controls relating to administering AML training.

Throughout the remediation process, we have taken advice from highly skilled advisors, including FCA-approved consultants, to guide the Bank through the changes required to enhance its AML control framework and related processes. This has included review and advice on the Bank’s governance arrangements and culture relevant to AML compliance.

About Guaranty Trust Bank UK

Guaranty Trust Bank (UK) Limited (GTBank UK) is a limited company incorporated in England and Wales (05969821) with registered office at 60-62 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8TF. The Bank is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

GTBank UK is fully committed to the fight against all forms of financial crime and to continuing to meet all applicable financial crime regulations and legislation globally. Our AML policies and controls, together with our overall risk management strategy, are regularly reviewed and revised to ensure that they remain relevant and current in line with the evolving regulatory requirements.

Enquiries:enquiries@gtbankuk.com