January 23, 2007

The U.K.'s financial services regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA; London), unveiled a new division to tackle the risks posed by the evolution of financial crime.

Speaking at the FSA's Annual Financial Crime Sector Conference on Jan. 22, John Tiner, the FSA's chief executive, told the audience that the new Financial Crime and Intelligence Division (FCID) would further raise the FSA's game--and the UK's--by creating a recognized center of excellence to provide the leadership, tools and expertise needed to meet the increased challenges ahead and maintain the integrity of the U.K.'s financial sector. The FCID brings together all of the financial crime expertise that was previously spread throughout the FSA. It will work closely with law enforcement and other regulators to identify, assess and manage any finance-related criminal threats.

"All of us involved in the fight against financial crime have to recognize that risks in this area inevitably evolve quickly and our responses have to match them," Tiner said. "This is a continuing challenge: As we react to the most recent attacks, so the criminals move onto new ways of achieving their objectives. We have to keep raising our game, and the FSA is responding to this by creating the Financial Crime and Intelligence Division."

Among the tasks facing the new division, which came into effect on Jan. 1, will be examining the risks facing consumers from increasing information security and high-tech crime, while also working closely with other regulators. Risk monitoring will include the potential for low-tech breaches of security, such as the careless disposal of sensitive data.

The division will also be working with a broad range of economic experts from inside and outside the FSA to create an effective means of measuring the real scale of the problem posed by financial crime.