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FCA fines for bank bereavement process failings

FCA has fined Santander £32,817,000 for failing effectively to process the accounts and investments of deceased customers. FCA found the bank did not transfer funds totally over £183m to customers when it should have done and did not disclose problems in its probate and bereavement process to FCA once it became aware of them.

The breaches took places between 2013 and 2016, and the effect of the weaknesses in the bank’s systems and controls meant that the probate and bereavement process would start but then stall and not complete. This meant that some funds were not transferred to those entitled to them once the bank had been told the customer had died, and in other cases funds belonging to deceased customers were not identified. Over 40,000 customers were affected, and sometimes beneficiaries did not receive funds for many years.

FCA found the bank then took too long to address the issues and carry out remediation once it became aware of them, as well as failing to notify FCA when it discovered it had problems.

As a result, FCA found the bank breached Principles 3, 6 and 11 but said that once the failings were notified to senior management they were fixed promptly and properly.

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Emma Radmore