Santander UK PLC has been fined £32.8m by the FCA for failings in its probate and bereavement process.
The FCA found that the bank had failed to effectively process the accounts and investments of deceased customers.
Some 40,428 customers were directly affected by the bank’s failure to transfer funds – totalling over £183m – to beneficiaries when it should have.
The FCA stated that in some cases, funds were held for many years before beneficiaries could access them.
Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “These failings took too long to be identified and then far too long to be fixed.
“To the firm’s credit, once these problems were notified to the board and senior management, they were fixed properly and promptly.
“But recognition of the problem took too long.
“Firms must be able to identify and respond to problems more quickly, especially when they are causing harm to customers.
“The FCA will continue to be on the lookout for firms with poor systems and controls and will take action to deter such failings to ensure customers are properly protected.”
The bank has paid interest – where appropriate – on the funds to beneficiaries to compensate them for the delay in receiving them, together with compensation for any consequential loss that was suffered.
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