UK Finance comments on sanctions regime

UK Finance has submitted a note to the Economic Crime enquiry on how to improve the effectiveness of the sanctions regime. It says its members regard SAMLA as a necessary piece of legislation which is largely as expected. It recognises that operating outside the EU framework might lead to greater flexibility, and makes some suggestions as to areas the Government might consider developing. It suggests:

  • a consistent and workable definition of “control” and ownership to apply to all sanctions regimes;
  • clear jurisdictional scope, with guidance on what structures would introduce a UK element;
  • a clearer articulation of reporting requirements;
  • better information sharing powers so banks and other sectors can share information;
  • putting in place up to date and workable governmental guidance;
  • avoiding divergence with EU sanctions; and
  • a more effective licensing regime.

The response also highlights that global banks increasingly commit to complying with UN, EU and US sanctions laws as well as the jurisdictions in which they operate and that this means their global policies can prohibit business that would be allowed or encouraged in some of their countries of operation.  Iran remains the case in point, where UK and EU banks fear incurring US fines or being excluded from US financial markets if they have any exposure to dealings with Iran.