February 19, 2019 / 1:10 AM / 9 months ago

Commerzbank spends 600 million euros on compliance, driven by U.S. monitor - Q4 results

The logo of Germany's Commerzbank is pictured at a car park of a branch in Dortmund January 24, 2013.

LONDON(Thomson Reutersx Regulatory Intelligence) - Commerzbank’s compliance function, helped by the demands of a U.S. monitor, has come at a cost of 600 million euros since 2015 and reduction in both products and customer reach, the bank said. This includes an international anti-money laundering and sanctions compliance programme, it said in its Q4 results today.

“We have established a sound and robust compliance framework and made significant investment in terms of both money and [full time employees],” said Stephen Engels, chief financial officer, Commerzbank, noting that headcount in compliance had now risen to more than 700 staff in 50 countries.

The framework includes a AML and sanctions compliance programme, monitoring and sanctions screening, the definition and roll-out of international know-your-customer processes, he said.

“Of great assistance in this process has been our U.S. monitor, being very demanding but also supportive and instrumental in implementing a state-of the-art compliance function that also follows strict U.S. regulatory requirements,” Engels said.

“With investment of roughly 600 million euros and a reduction of both products and customer reach this framework has come at a cost. We strongly believe that this is a price worth paying and is money well spent. It increases the bank’s defences and has further enhanced our reputation for integrity among all of our staff,” Engels said.

The next steps are continuous improvements, further automation, and use of big data, he said.

In discussions with clients, Commerzbank has noted that a strong compliance function is a crucial factor for many corporate clients, said Martin Zielke, chairman.

(Alex Davidson is senior editor, AML/financial crime, in London for Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence.)

*To read more by the Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence team click here: bit.ly/TR-RegIntel

This article was produced by Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence - bit.ly/TR-RegIntel - and initially posted on Feb. 15. Regulatory Intelligence provides a single source for regulatory news, analysis, rules and developments, with global coverage of more than 400 regulators and exchanges. Follow Regulatory Intelligence compliance news on Twitter: @thomsonreuters

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