The FSA in Japan is again pressing Citigroup to overhaul its compliance operations, according to Wall Street Journal’s report on Nov 6 (EST). The regulator has expressed dissatisfaction about the bank’s lax compliance, including anti-money laundering standards. This seems likely to lead to some major personnel shake-ups among the senior ranks of Citigroup Japan. Most recently the bank has hired a recruiter in attempt to replace its current league of senior management. Until Friday, Citigroup Japan had been reporting to the Hong Kong office, which oversaw the Asia-Pacific operations. Citigroup Japan now directly reports to John Havens, the Group’s COO in New York. It is expected that the FSA will issue sanctions against the group within the next 2 months.
Citigroup Japan has not met regulatory expectations on at least three widely publicized occasions to date. The first one occurred in 2004 when the bank was forced to close down its private bank operations over anti money laundering deficiencies. In 2009, two traders were charged with manipulating the London interbank rates (Libor) when the Japan FSA joined hands with the UK FSA and SEC in investigation efforts. Most recently, the FSA found that its retail operations did not make sufficient disclosures to clients about risks underlying investment trusts during the sales process nor did staff properly assess the suitability of products for customers.
The WSJ report can be found here.