1994: Shopping – Anderson
The Banks continue to come under the microscope. HSBC had a rather awkward week, with a time in the proverbial frying pan after failing to prevent significant Money Laundering. This was followed by the exit of David Bagley the head of Global Compliance at HSBC who resigned. The CEO of HSBC Stuart Gulliver apologised to the US Senate, following the revelation that HSBC had allowed drug money to be laundered though its accounts. HSBC has done a Mexican waive..not the type that we will see in the Olympic stadium shortly, its just Visa (the credit card, not the visa that you won’t get if you get stuck in passport control strikes and Lloyds 
[hey don’t we all own that and get entitled to corporate tickets?]  that are the banking sponsors) Sadly a small firm like ours cannot get away with an apology, we have to follow protocols laid down by the regulators and EU to ensure that proper identity and residential checks are done on clients as well as the source of their funds. If we mess this up, then the consequences for me is far more significant which does little to quell suggestions that Banks are favoured over IFAs by regulators.
Another Bank that has been in the news is RBS due to its system failure. One of its subsidiaries Ulster Bank had prolonged problems with customers unable to access funds from their accounts. They now seem to have largely corrected problems saying that 99% of its 1.9m customers’ balances are now up-to-date.
The failure of a bank system like this is a real problem and it may be worth considering an alternative. Marks & Spencer have also revealed their new current account which will be available in October. It will have a monthly fee of £15 or £20 if you want travel insurance as well. It is designed for M&S shoppers rather than the general public. The account will provide access to a savings account that pays 6% along with a £10 birthday gift, two £20 store vouchers, a 20% discount per month for the first year on clothes and homeware. There’s also an M&S point for every £1 spend on the debit card (much better than a credit card – unless you clear the monthly balance). They are also throwing in four “Treats and Delights” worth £45 and a further 48 M&S café hot drinks vouchers worth £127. So if you are an M&S shopper, this looks like a pretty good option.

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