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Financial Crime and Cyber Security

SEC and FCA warn funds to be vigilant

A recently released paper by AIMA demonstrated clearly that hedge fund firms and other alternative asset managers are playing an important role in financing the economy, providing much needed capital and investment to the SME market, real estate and infrastructure projects amongst others.1 As the sector plays an increasingly mainstream role, issues such as financial crime and cyber security will remain central to further growth. As recent events show, these remain a priority for regulators and law enforcement agencies.

Financial crime

Financial crime seems to have occupied much of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) time. Earlier this year, in response to an FOI request, the FCA confirmed it is investigating 67 firms or individuals that fall within the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) for possible abuses ranging from financial crime to market abuse. These cases will take time to work through the FCA enforcement process but it is likely that some of the investigations will result in public enforcement action. Separately, the FCA announced the findings from its thematic review into market abuse in the asset management sector, which covered 19 asset management firms. In April 2015, it issued the latest version of its guidelines Financial Crime: A guide for firms which followed on from the FCA Business Plan 2015/16 in which the FCA identified “The importance of firms’ systems and controls in preventing financial crime” as a new forward-looking area of focus for this year.2

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