A FOIA submitted by the Global Investigations Review has revealed that the number of open investigations into sanctions breaches by the FCA is down by almost 50%. While OFSI (the Office for Financial Sanctions Implementation) has tended to lead the charge for punishing institutions for breaches of sanctions, the reduced level activity by the FCA in this space is unusual given their wider priorities (as stated in their Business Plan), and perhaps a sign of the regulator’s preoccupation with Brexit preparations. However, post-Brexit, implementation, governance and enforcement of the UK’s sanctions regime will fall squarely into the hands of both OFSI and the FCA. The government has already signalled its readiness to implement sanctions autonomously, and so it is likely to become incumbent on the FCA to tighten its grip on compliance.
“Although the FCA is not the UK’s main sanctions body, some experts had expected it to take a more robust look into whether companies had appropriate internal controls to prevent breaches, which falls within its remit, as the country prepares to leave the European Union – a move that will bring the UK’s autonomous sanctions regime into force.”