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AML, Banking, Compliance

Deutsche revamps internal AML structure in effort to boost its ability to tackle financial crime

By Dan Byrne for AMLi

DEUTSCHE BANK AG has set about reorganising its AML/CFT defences amidst several continuing compliance headaches. 

Its efforts to detect and prevent financial crime have been re-formed into six dedicated units, according to a memo sent by Chief Administrative Officer Stefan Simon to employees this week.  

The changes will also bring on board two experts: Mary Kirwan – a former executive at Credit Suisse Group AG – and Jan-Gerrit Iken of Commerzbank AG.  

“The goal of this new setup is to become more effective in all areas, but especially in the fight against financial crime,” Simon said.  

“The aim is always to have a global overview of the remediation requirements of our regulators worldwide and to centrally manage these requirements.” 

It remains a busy time for Deutsche Bank as it continues the scramble to improve its internal AML controls.  

The bank received official communication from the German national regulator BaFin in May – ordering it to initiate further safeguards to prevent money laundering, as well as extending KPMG’s mandate to oversee any progress made.  

Pressure is also coming at the institution from the European Central Bank, which is reportedly urging Deutsche to name a replacement for current Chair Paul Achleitner as soon as possible, ahead of his intended departure in 2022.  

According to insiders, the pressure is partly due to the ECB’s desire to thoroughly vet the new candidate, ensuring that they will keep the bank out of legal trouble and take the reigns in a seamless transition.  

Meanwhile, trouble still may be brewing for the bank’s operations in the United States, where insiders have claimed it is risking future fines over “persistent shortcomings” in its AML defences.  

Sources familiar with the continuing dialogue between Deutsche and the US Federal Reserve has said that the mood had been souring, with the Federal Reserve becoming frustrated over a lack of progress.  

Deutsche was also prominently named in last September’s “FinCEN Files” dirty money revelations and has since been fined $130M for its role in a separate bribery scheme.  

But the bank is actively pursuing a change in compliance culture, with CEO Christian Sewing telling attendees at its May AGM that it had, “significantly strengthened our control systems.” 

“But there is still work to do,” he added. “We are still not fully meeting out regulators’ expectations, nor our own.” 

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