We, and, I think, most advisers are diligent in checking ID and confirming the source of any funds anyone wants to invest. In most of our experiences, it’s not hard to spot when someone’s dodgy or things don’t quite add up. In comparison to a major bank, we should be anti-money-laundering amateurs. The extent, therefore of Santander’s incompetence – I’m sure that’s what it was, always best to assume c—-k up over conspiracy – beggars belief. A small foreign exchange agency set up accounts with them, something you’d think would automatically trigger a little extra scrutiny. They said they expected to turn over around £5,000 per month. Shortly thereafter, £ms started to be paid in and quickly moved out. After a year or so, Santander’s own compliance department recommended it was closed; but nothing happened for another 18 months, by which time huge amounts had been washed, tumble dried, ironed and folded away. How interesting that this hit the news in the same week as the proposal to roll back some banking regulation to let those bankers take full advantage of their newly uncapped bonuses.
Here’s a future problem that will doubtless be kicked down the road until it becomes a crisis. There’s a whole generation who may never be able to afford to buy their own homes.