UPDATE 1-FINRA fines Raymond James $17 mln for violating anti-money laundering rules

miércoles 18 de mayo de 2016 11:25 GYT

(Adds context, details about conduct)

By Suzanne Barlyn

May 18 (Reuters) - Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog has fined Raymond James Financial Inc $17 million for widespread failures in anti-money laundering compliance, the regulator said on Wednesday.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) also suspended the company's former anti-money laundering compliance officer, Linda Busby, for three months and fined her $25,000, the regulator said.

The fine is the regulator's largest ever for anti-money laundering compliance violations, said FINRA spokeswoman Michelle Ong.

Raymond James and Busby both agreed to the sanctions in settlements with FINRA, without admitting nor denying FINRA's charges, FINRA said.

Raymond James' processes to prevent money laundering did not match its business growth from 2006-14, FINRA said. Instead, the company relied on a "patchwork" of procedures and systems to detect suspicious activity.

As a result, the firm missed certain "red flags" in the process and failed to investigate others, FINRA said. Those included a $250,000 wire transfer to a Panamanian bank account - purportedly for a banana shipment - that followed previous account activity purportedly related to gold mining, according to the settlement.

The Raymond James U.S. anti-money laundering program has "undergone significant resource, process and technology enhancements" aligned with the firm's growth strategy, Steve Hollister, a Raymond James spokesman, said in a statement.   Continuación...