UK - Aon Corp., the parent of actuarial and pension consulting firm Aon Consulting, has been fined £5.2m (€5.8m) by the UK's financial regulator for "failings in its anti-bribery and corruption systems and controls".
The Financial Services Authority said the fine - against Aon Ltd. - was for "failing to take reasonable care to establish and maintain effective systems and controls to counter the risks of bribery and corruption associated with making payments to overseas firms and individuals".
The payments were in Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burma, Indonesia and Vietnam, and the payments have been referred to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). The fine is the biggest yet from the FSA related to financial crime.
"We recognise and regret the failings that occurred in our systems and controls for payments to third parties and are pleased that our efforts to remedy and enhance our controls are considered by the FSA to be 'a model of best practice that other firms may wish to adopt'," said Aon chief executive Peter Harmer.
The FSA said that between January 14 2005 and September 30 2007, Aon failed to properly assess the risks involved in its dealings with overseas firms and individuals who helped it win business and failed to implement effective controls to mitigate those risks.
It said: "As a result of Aon Ltd.'s weak control environment, the firm made various suspicious payments, amounting to approximately $7m, to a number of overseas firms and individuals."
The FSA's director of enforcement Margaret Cole said: "It sends a clear message to the UK financial services industry that it is completely unacceptable for firms to conduct business overseas without having in place appropriate anti-bribery and corruption systems and controls."
The FSA said Aon "cooperated fully" and agreed to settle at an early stage of the FSA's investigation. The firm had also demonstrated that they treat this matter with the utmost seriousness.
Last month Aon Consulting said in a release that the insurance buyout market for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes is expected to fail to hit industry forecasts for 2008, falling £2bn shy of the forecasted year-end £10bn mark.
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