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Compliance Corner: Guernsey, Standard Chartered

Editorial Staff, 16 June 2020

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The latest compliance news: regulatory developments, punishments, guidance, permissions and new product and service offerings.

Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) has started to wind up its business, shutting down its trust and fiduciary services operations in the Crown Dependency.

The liquidation of the business is being handled by Deloitte, as shown by a statement from Standard Chartered on its website. The close follows the bank’s application on 19 May to liquidate the business. The wind-up order was given by the Royal Court of Guernsey.

The Guernsey Financial Services Commission on 4 June imposed a £140,000 ($175,537) penalty on StanChart’s Guernsey business, following “historical failures” to meet minimum licensing requirements under rules covering fiduciaries, administration firms and company directors. The GFSC statement gave few other details. 

The Guernsey business of Standard Chartered has had problems before. In October 2017 Indonesia probed reports that $1.4 billion held by the bank in Guernsey, mainly on behalf of Indonesian clients, was transferred to Singapore just before the island moved to new tax transparency rules. The Monetary Authority of Singapore in March 2018 levied penalties of S$5.2 million ($3.73 million) on Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Branch and on Standard Chartered Trust (Singapore) Limited ($1.2 million). 

MAS and the Guernsey regulator were investigating the movement of assets in late 2015 - months before the Channel Island adopted a global framework for the exchange of tax data. Under those rules, countries automatically share annual reports on accounts belonging to people subject to taxes in each country. Britain, Guernsey and Singapore have all signed up, but Guernsey implemented the rules ahead of Singapore.

“The timing of the transfers raised questions of whether the clients were attempting to avoid their CRS reporting obligations. However, SCBS and SCTS did not adequately assess and mitigate against this risk factor, and also failed to file suspicious transaction reports in a timely manner,” MAS had said in its 19 March 2018 statement.  

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