19 Oct Supporting businesses and individuals with the de-banking dilemma
A new phenomenon has occurred within the banking space known as ‘de-banking’. This entails the closure of a person or organisations’ bank accounts by banks who perceive the account holders to pose a financial, legal, regulatory, or reputational risk.
The most high-profile example in recent months was former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, who had his account closed at Coutts because his views “do not align” with their values. This recent publicity has thrust the topic under the spotlight, revealing that de-banking is far more common than initially thought. In fact, it has been reported that UK banks are closing nearly 1,000 bank accounts each day.
The reasons for the actions taken are wide and varied. Regardless, though, the recent publicity and government reaction has placed pressure on financial institutions to review, and potentially change, their procedures to ensure account holders are given reasons as to the closure. This will
require banks to be far more rigorous in their processes as they could be challenged with potential reputational damage if mistakes are made. Financial institutions will therefore need to balance the reputational issues with regulatory requirements and money laundering legislation.
Understanding the vital importance of bank accounts to our day-to-day lives, BGS Ltd, part of the GSA Group, has stepped in to support organisations and high-net-worth individuals that have had their bank accounts closed without notice or reason. This has meant undertaking deep research into their relationships and wealth, as well as carrying out extensive investigations into unexplained company losses.
For the past 15 years BGS has provided Open-Source Investigations (OSINT) for corporate and individual clients. These include:
- In-depth due diligence investigations supporting large investments (identifying any red flags)
- OSINT investigations into a company’s subject of acquisition (and the principals of those companies)
- Deep profiles on individuals, including PEPs
- Asset tracing
- Proving the provenance of assets being offered for investments
- KYC enquiries
- Pre-employment enquiries for prominent positions in companies
- Investigations into unexplained company losses
All investigations are conducted legally and ethically and an audit source for all evidence supporting findings can be provided for any process. The enquiries include the uncatalogued and deep web where necessary, and review of all potential sources of information regarding the subject individual. BGS also has on-the-ground capability globally to make additional enquiries if required.