HSBC still facing compliance issues


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HSBC Holdings was forced to pay almost $2 billion just over a year ago, after revelations that it may have been complicit in money laundering. It seems that its financial fraud problems are not yet over, however, as U.S. regulators continue to probe the financial giant to ensure AML compliance.

That massive fine, levied in December of 2012, was the largest amount that had ever been paid to authorities for this sort of financial fraud case. Brought by U.S. authorities, the case stemmed from allegations that the bank had not put adequate systems in place to prevent millions of dollars being laundered by Mexican drug cartels.

HSBC, after that huge expenditure, invested millions in its efforts to be more compliant, and pledged to make wholesale changes to fix any potential oversights. Stuart Gulliver, Chief Executive of the company, underscored that message when announcing the settlement. 

"The HSBC of today is a fundamentally different organization from the one that made those mistakes," he said. 

However, there is evidence that this is not yet the case. Officials from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have noted discrepancies, and have not yet seen the sort of improvement promised by the bank after its legal troubles. While there has been no current indication that further legal action is being pursued, the entire ordeal highlights the importance of AML compliance. Even for a company with the resources of HSBC, it takes a dedicated and intelligent effort to ensure that the company is as protected as possible.