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Top US and UK crime brains to beef up HSBC's risk controls

Top US and UK crime brains to beef up HSBC's risk controls

US deputy attorney general Jim Comey will chair HSBC's new 'financial systems vulnerabilities' committee.

The bank has created the committee following its £1.2 billion fine for anti money laundering failings, hoping the new division of its board will beef up its controls.

'We have established this committee to provide governance, oversight and policy advice and to support the work which Stuart Gulliver, the group chief executive, is leading to simplify business activities and enhance risk management and control through enforcing and adopting the highest behavioural and compliance standards across HSBC,' explained chair Douglas Flint as he announced the move.

CEO Gulliver (pictured) said the committee would benefit from a team of expert advisers. '[It] will provide invaluable guidance as we strengthen our capabilities and enforce the highest standards, in particular in relation to combating financial crime,' he said.

Also on the committee and serving as non-executive board members are Rona Fairhead,  and Simon Robertson, and Bill Hughes, who served as the UK's first head of the Serious Organised Crime Agency will serve as an adviser.  Dave Hartnett, who in 2012 retired as the permanent secretary for tax at HMRC, will also be an adviser.

The scope of the committee's responsibilities encompass oversight, governance and policy guidance, and it will pay particular attention to anti-money laundering systems and controls, which US regulators last year found lacking following an investigation of money transfers made on behalf of Iran.

At the time of the fine, CEO Gulliver said the bank was 'profoundly sorry' for the failings and accepted full responsibility.  He also spoke of the need to do better, though added the 'HSBC of today' is vastly different to the one that made the errors.

The bank also came under the glare of the UK's regulator for the failings. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) urged it to introduce a more robust anti-money laundering system.

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