HSBC apologises for 'mistakes' in tackling terror funding

HSBC said it is committed to fixing the lapses with the bank's risk management system.

Washington: Apologising to the US lawmakers for its "mistakes" in tackling terror funding and money laundering related risks, global banking giant HSBC on Tuesday said it is committed to fixing the lapses with the bank's risk management system.

Ahead of its deposition before the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which has accused HSBC of exposing the US financial system to various money laundering, terrorist financing and drug trafficking risks from abroad over the years, the bank said it has already taken some concrete steps in this regard.

"With a new senior leadership team and a new strategy in place since last year, HSBC has already taken concrete steps to augment the framework to address these issues including significant changes to strengthen compliance, risk management and culture," the bank said in a statement.

HSBC was scheduled to appear before the Senate Subcommittee here later on Tuesday.

"HSBC takes compliance with the law, wherever it operates, very seriously. We will acknowledge that, in the past, we have sometimes failed to meet the standards that regulators and customers expect.

"We will apologise, acknowledge these mistakes, answer for our actions and give our absolute commitment to fixing what went wrong.

The bank said that the steps already undertaken by it to augment its systems include creation of a new global structure, which makes HSBC easier to manage and control with four global businesses and ten global functions, allowing a coordinated and consistent approach, including compliance and risk.

In addition, HSBC said it would apply a consistent approach in knowing your customer (KYC) regulations and the bank would introduce a global risk filter which would standardise the way it performs its business in "high risk" countries.

"We have learned a great deal working with the Subcommittee on this case history and also working with US regulatory authorities, and recognise that our controls could and should have been stronger and more effective in order to spot and deal with unacceptable behaviour," HSBC said.

The bank said successful implementation of these steps would make a significant difference to the overall integrity of the global financial system.

"Success in detecting and preventing illicit actors' access to the global financial system calls for constant vigilance and HSBC will continue to work in close cooperation with all governments to achieve this. This is integral to the execution of HSBC's strategy and to our core values," the UK-based bank said.

The US Senate's Permanent Sub-committee on Investigations last night released a summary report of its probe after a year-long probe into the affairs of the global banking major.


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