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British review of “politically exposed” bank clients put off until election

by Uma
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British review of “politically exposed” bank clients put off until election

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s financial watchdog will wait until after next month’s national election to publish its review into how banks conduct mandatory extra checks on “politically exposed” customers and their families for money laundering risks.

The review had been due to be published at the end of June but would now be released after parliament returns following the July 4 election, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Wednesday.

The review of rules on politically exposed persons, or PEPs, is part of a wider look at “debanking”, a hot topic since private bank Coutts closed the accounts of Nigel Farage, who now leads the right-wing Reform UK party.

Farage accused the bank, part of state-owned NatWest, of discriminating against him because of his political views. NatWest CEO Alison Rose later quit after acknowledging an “error of judgment” in discussing the case with a journalist.

The FCA has said it cannot change the law that requires extra checks on PEPs. But it is examining whether risk assessments of British PEPs, their families and known close associates, are proportionate, appropriate and do not create unnecessary barriers for public servants and their families.

The markets regulator has said that individuals may find themselves excluded from products or services “through no fault of their own” if banks apply rules inappropriately.


(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Peter Graff)