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BMA fines Estera $500,000

Hefty fine: the Bermuda Monetary Authority has imposed civil penalties totalling $500,000 on Estera Services (Bermuda) Ltd (File photograph)

The Bermuda Monetary Authority has fined Estera Services (Bermuda) Ltd $500,000, the financial-services regulator announced yesterday.

The BMA said the civil penalties were imposed under the Trusts (Regulation of Trust Business) Act 2001 and relate to deficiencies in the corporate services provider’s anti-money laundering and antiterrorist financing programme. Estera was formed in 2016 by a management buyout of what was previously known as Appleby Fiduciary Services.

The BMA said the deficiencies “predated the acquisition”.

In a statement yesterday, Estera said: “The fine relates to missing the deadline for the documentary remediation of historical client files.

“Our client records have now been fully updated and independently reviewed and Estera Services (Bermuda) Ltd can confirm the portfolio is compliant with regulatory requirements.

“Estera has invested significant capital and resources to implement enhanced client-related procedures to maintain the highest standards of compliance.”

The BMA stated: “The civil penalties have been imposed for the company’s failure to adequately comply within a specified timeframe with certain requirements of the Proceeds of Crime (Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2008 (the Regulations), and specifically the regulations relating to the application of customer due diligence and enhanced due diligence, internal controls, and risk assessment.”

The regulator said it had required the deficiencies in the AML/ATF programme to be rectified by the end of 2017, but Estera failed to make deadline.

The regulations had been in effect since 2009, and that this case highlighted the importance of licensees having up-to-date AML/ATF measures in place and that they should deal with shortcomings identified by the regulator “within reasonable time frames”.