Fighting financial crime

How and why we fight financial crime

What is financial crime?

It's important to understand how financial crime can impact your life and what you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

  • Financial crime covers a wide range of criminal offences including fraud, money laundering, bribery and corruption, terrorist financing, tax evasion, market abuse and insider dealing.
  • A simple way to help identify financial crime is to think of it as any activity where someone benefits from something they are not entitled to - this could be money, a product or service.
  • Serious and organised financial crime costs the UK billions of pounds a year. And it doesn't just impact businesses and organisations. You, and all the people you know, are impacted by financial crime, too.
  • Data from our Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme over the twelve months to March 2024 reveals 6.9 million fraud victims with young people aged 18 to 34 reporting more losses from scams than other age groups.

How does financial crime impact me?

Here's an example of how financial crime is affecting consumers, like you, right now.

People buy insurance to protect themselves, the people close to them and the things they love. But when insurance fraud is committed this will have an impact on insurance companies as they could have to increase customer premiums. It damages consumer finances and their confidence in financial service providers.

That’s why we have a dedicated financial crime team who help us to take care of our members and customers by investigating all suspicions of financial crime. Once the team have investigated, and gathered evidence, we report our findings to the police and other law enforcement agencies.

The organisations we work with are:

We do our best to protect all our members and customers, and their finances, but anyone can be a victim of financial crime at any time, so being alert and knowing how to protect yourself is vital.

What to watch out for

Different types of financial crime to be aware of:

  • Investment fraud
  • Pension scams
  • Pension liberation

financial crime

Information about bribery, fraud and financial crimes you may encounter

Bribery and corruption

We have a financial crime policy, which sets out the framework for managing crime arising from bribery and corruption, fraud, proliferation financing, money laundering, terrorist financing, corporate facilitation of tax evasion and market abuse. We have a dedicated Financial Crime team, which operates within our Risk Management team, to monitor adherence to this policy.

Detecting and preventing financial crime continues to be a priority for us. Our ‘Speak Up’ service is a confidential hotline and mailbox where our people can report any suspicions of wrong-doing in confidence. Every case is taken seriously. The service is operated by our internal Risk team, providing a genuinely independent way to report concerns, and is overseen by our Speak Up Champion.

The Speak Up service is operated in accordance with the requirements set out by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). We regularly promote the service internally to ensure our colleagues are reminded of how to report concerns.

Terrorist financing

In short, terrorist finance provides funds for terrorist activity. The funds could come from legitimate sources such as personal donations and profits from charitable companies, or the funds could come from criminal sources such as the drug trade, fraud or kidnapping.

Financial transactions associated with terrorist financing tend to be in smaller amounts than they are for money laundering, so they can be harder to track.

Money laundering

This is when people disguise large amounts of money, which usually originates from a serious crime (such as drug trafficking or terrorist activity), by dividing it into smaller chunks. These smaller chunks will then pass through other businesses as investments or used in transactions to create the illusion that it originally came from a legitimate source.

There are three main stages to money laundering - placement, layering and integration.

1. Placement - This is when illegal money is introduced into the financial system

2. Layering - This is the movement stage, where the money is separated from its source and disguised

3. Integration - Money is returned to the criminal from what looks like a legitimate source

Data Vishing

Data Vishing is when an individual pretends to be someone they aren’t, usually from a well-known organisation, and they make phone calls to try and gain personal and financial data. Vishers may have already obtained some of your personal information and will likely use this to try and imply they are calling from a genuine company or for legitimate reasons. 

The caller’s main goal is to obtain and gather as much information about you as they can. Using your data allows them to do a number of things, for example set up fraudulent accounts to obtain a financial benefit. 

Vishing is not restricted to the insurance industry; callers may also impersonate banks and building societies, the police and other trusted companies.

Our colleagues look out for Vishing on a day-to-day basis. We have equipped them with an app that allows them to report their suspicions. The data is analysed regularly by our Financial Crime team. This allows us to identify emerging threats and notify appropriate regulators or agencies. We also support customers who may have been targeted.