Who has been interogated by the "HSBC safeguard initiative"

(Barbara Deane) #1

Still not happy about HSBC s interigation and answers as to why I was chosen
to answer deeply personal financial questions.
No I have nothing to hide.
But HSBC are unable to offer an apology or a real reason for these
very probing questions.
Apart from closing my account…would, perhaps a newspaper be interested?

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(anon71231711) #2

Why were you chosen - well I think don’t think you were “chosen”, it’s more a matter of, it was your turn. Basically, HSBC are on a mission to fill in all the blanks for all their customers, because they don’t want another $1.9 billion fine and since the last one they have various watchdogs breathing down their necks to make sure they are being absolutely rigorous about KYC.
"The monitor repeated a concern raised last year, noting that “one of the most significant impediments” is HSBC’s compliance technology, which he said requires a “great deal of work,” according to the summary. He also found deficiencies in the bank’s so-called Know Your Client procedures. Certain affiliates didn’t collect necessary customer information upon opening accounts and didn’t update customer profiles regularly, the summary said."

I have a friend who runs an international business based in the UK who was interviewed recently - at first he expected it to be a formality and treated it as a bit of a joke, then when he realised it wasn’t a joke at all and there was a very real possibility HSBC would withdraw banking services if they didn’t like his answers, and leave his business in the lurch, he got really scared. In the end once they understood how his business worked and why his pattern of transactions is what it is, it was OK, and they ended up chatting about why the bank has to do this. Basically HSBC is in the spotlight and it feels it can’t afford to take any chances, so its policy is that it will exclude clients who don’t co-operate, rather than have gaps in its records that the watchdogs will then pick up on. My friend said that by the end of the interview he felt that HSBC knew his business better than he did himself. But, that what KYC is all about. HSBC don’t have to apologise for doing what they are obliged to do in order to comply with the laws and protect themselves from future sanctions. I’m sure HSBC would be very happy indeed for newspapers to carry articles about how probing their questions are and how rigorous they are being, they would hope the watchdogs read them and it would help them no end.

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(Ray Rampton) #3

It’s a bit like going through customs.
Sometimes they glance at your passport, grunt and wave you through. Sometimes you can be asked a couple of questions. Other times you get the third degree.
The same happens with freight, 95 % passes with no event, 4.9 % gets a more thorough inspection, 0.5 % gets every single individual box opened which is a blow when you have 15,000 individual boxes shipping urgently and it has a 4 day inspection.

It’s just a question of an official body with heavy regulation having to do a certain number of enquiries to certain percentages of depth from the casual to the very deep.

If you feel aggrieved or victimised then I would suggest the Banking Ombudsman but personally I think your name just found its way to being in the wrong place on the list, every 1,000,000th customer etc

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(Barbara Deane) #4

Thank you Anna for your detailed explanation.

But I did not see this a joke just that they were

questioning my integrity,

Been with them for 40 years and they have, on record

a character sketch relating to my finaces including funds coming in from the sale of uk business and home and a full profile of taxes paid.

And sadly I am old now.


(Barbara Deane) #5

No Ray not the same as going through customs.

The passport tells the officer very little about the person who

holds the card.

Banking for many years holds all the history.

HSBC should be less lazy and read through the records

before they proceed to interigation.

And they need to train the team members who carry out the investigation.

My bank in France thought it was a scam.


(anon71231711) #6

[quote=“Barbara_Deane, post:4, topic:16300”]
Been with them for 40 years and they have, on record

a character sketch relating to my finaces including funds coming in from the sale of uk business and home and a full profile of taxes paid.
[/quote] Yes, that’s exactly what they are supposed to have on record for every customer, updated on a regular basis.
It’s a next-to-impossible “ask” really, I doubt any bank in the world has complete records, but because HSBC is being made an example of and has been given a time scale in which to fully comply, it is pulling out all the stops. And in order to comply it has no option other than to put its customers through this “interrogation”, and tick a box to confirm they have been interviewed, and the responses, and the date.

Money launderers know every trick in the book for making transactions look innocent (eg by using little old ladies that no bank would every suspect, or so they hope). The person who interviewed my friend explained that they are focusing particularly on small businesses because it’s common practice for money launderers to set up a small business as a “front”, and it’s only by looking closely at the person’s private circumstances and other business connections, that they can establish which small businesses are genuine small businesses, and which are “fronts” for a money laundering network. What you need to remember is that while to you and me money laundering is something we occasionally read about in the paper, to the banks it’s a constant and very real issue.


(Ray Rampton) #7

Hi Barbera,
I’m sorry but I disagree.

If my face matches my passport which it does, then any customs official knows it belongs to me and I am the associated and authorised traveller. My passport has with it, in his system, on his display, where I’ve been and for how long. He doesn’t need to ask me anything about where I’ve been and for how long, except for, every xx passenger has to have a double check just to achieve the right stats.
Not just a reliance on the system but a degree of interrogation and second-check.

As a part of my work life, my company ship goods internationally and specifically I have shipped many parts into China, always the same part at the same price with the same weights and dimensions and multiple of the same quantity. All of this is in the systems of the Chinese Import Customs. Every shipment can be compared to what has passed before. Virtually always passes through untouched. Sometimes it has a small delay. Other times it gets ‘open box inspection’ where every box has to be opened and every packet containing an individual circuit board has need individual inspection.
It is a well known fact that the customs officials have to inspect x% of shipments per month with open box inspection. It’s also known that they do some at the start of the month to hopefully see them through and that they hope the shipments will drop so they are done for the month, but, it always ends up that they need to play catch up to hit their target of inspections at the end of the month. It is a ‘tick box’ exercise to show they’ve been diligent and protected China from fraudulent imports.

The analogies above may not be perfect but there is a tick-box culture where to avoid later come-back somebody will be expected to be able to prove they acted diligently in x% of cases. Sometimes one of us gets caught in the x%.

It’s mildly irritating but personally I try to bite my lip and just get through it with a minimum of stress.
It always passes more easily if I just accept that it’'s just somebody doing what they’ve been told to do to fulfill a statistical requirement and that I’m glad I don’t have to that for a living. I certainly don’t wind up or respond haughtily to the man at the tunnel because I don’t want to be sat for four hours unpacking/re-packing a fully loaded car when I’m on a tight schedule just because I felt aggrieved at having to answer questions when he already has all the info to tell him when and where I’ve been.

Anyway, if you do feel that HSBC have over-stepped the mark, your complaint, if not answered satisfactorily by HSBC own customer care

should be directed to

Best of luck

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(anon71231711) #8

I really do feel you’re only upsetting yourself unnecessarily by dwelling on it. If you can’t accept HSBC’s strict policies and you don’t want anything more to do with them, you’re free to close your accounts and go elsewhere. Alternatively, be glad the experience is over and done with, and move on.


(Barbara Deane) #9

Oh you are both tough cookies…but I am not so sure that you would enjoy or even tolerate a total stranger …on the tel asking you " how much are you worth" and how much do you earn…

We have different ideas about this!

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(Ray Rampton) #10

Hi Barbera,

I’m not sure I’m a tough cookie and I maybe misunderstood - last week I had a couple of telephone appointments with my bank where I pro-actively gave them a lot of my financial information and a debrief on my life plans (including full financials) going forward. I want them to have a clear idea of what I have and what I’m doing and where I want to be so that they can advise the best products/tools/financial vehicles for me to achieve those goals.

This is a different aspect to you where you’ve been ‘grilled’, but what I (and I also think Anna) want to say is that someone somewhere is employed in the bank. This person is given a list of certain account (maybe more than X transactions of more than Y value in the last Z months). Then they have to go through and run through a full list of questions and get the customer to re-affirm the answers even if they have all the info already. This is just to satisfy a CYA just in case the auditors come round.

For me, if I’m interrogated (by customs, bank officials, tax man etc) and I have to give the answers to move forward then I do so as quickly as possible so that I can do something more fun. I certainly won’t dwell on it and let it soak up any more energy or time than it’s already been given.

You have the same choices; You can invest a lot of time and energy pursuing the channels, or, have a cuppa, call a friend, listen to the birds, go to a good resto, entirely your choice but I hope you pick one of the fun things

Have a good one,

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(anon71231711) #11

I think everyone agrees it’s an unpleasant experience, and I fully agree with Ray’s method of dealing with unpleasant but necessary things in life - get it over with and put it behind you.


(Jane Williamson) #12

Barbara, this was no joke. You have been with them for forty years and they still gave you the third degree.
I would take it personally as well.
There is far too much of "this is for your own good"
Please allow me to be the arbiter of that.

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(stella wood) #13

This has been an interesting and thought-provoking thread…

I can understand a Financial Institution wanting to keep their records up-to-date… etc etc… but, over the telephone ?? …:fearful:

My immediate reaction was… No way would I give anyone personal/financial information over the telephone. That’s just me… and I realise others may well be comfortable doing so…

Just glad I’ve not come in for scrutiny… yet…:cold_sweat:

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(Barbara Deane) #14

And yes I do believe that HSBC wants to have a clean profile.
And I know that small business projects can be set up to as a cover
for money laundering.
But I echo …first look at the customers profile and history.
Do consider HSBC if you are going to do this …who are you approaching.
perhaps my health needs to be taken into concideration…and therefor look
at the age of the person who is under scrutiny.
After all I am not sitting in a court of law on trial for a crime of some type.
I am a victim of HSBC s lack of professionalism, lack of interest in their
clients, lack of respect and is what they are doing to people like me totally
HSBC needs to train its staff correctly when dealing with these maters.
Over the telephone…interigating …No…
I think that if it happens to you…then you will realise how it feels.
What I earn and what I am worth is not about keeping records up to date.
There are some human rights!
Not just for politicians…who seem to brake every rule in the book.
And by the way HSBC make it clear that they are finished with me…
for the moment.


(Barbara Deane) #15

Nicely put…

And I did enjoy most of those lovely things…not a tea drinker

so no cuppa…and do not drink alcohol…often…

And yes, of course when you are running a business and possibly with overdrafts and loans…of course the bank has to know everything.

I am not in that position.

And apart from the “nosiness” I am not happy to be chosen to be interigated by a “young upstart”

Thanks for your thoughts and yes I will close the account when it is a good time for me to do so.


(Jane Williamson) #16

After having banked with them for forty years. There is far too much of this “It’s for your own good”.
We won’t fly now. I am 70 next month and I do not in any way fit the profiles of these Islamist terrorists, yet I am put through the same procedures. Have you ever been touched up by one of the ‘female’ security personnel.
Well I have, and so has one of my friends. You dare not say anything or you will be the one in trouble.
We stay down the lane out of the way.


(anon88888878) #17

Jane luvvie - have you had one too many aperos? :wink:


(David Martin) #18

I thought HSBC was a bank.

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(Sandy Hewlett) #19

Hubby had one of these phone calls and we arranged a date and time when they would call back. However, we told them that we would be putting THEM through security to check they were genuine! So when they next called we asked them for third letter from our password, etc. They were a bit surprised but understood. I’ve no problem with the bank checking the origin of one’s funds - they are subject to intense scrutiny and there are money-laundering penalties. First time it’s happened to us in our thirty-plus years of banking with First Direct so nothing to unsettle us. Security has its place. And Jane, re. the frisking through airports. I’ve had that too … guess there has to be a frisk of every type of demographic so it’s not concentrated on 30-something dark-skinned bearded males who can scream persecution.


(anon88888878) #20

Hang on a minute - there’s more than one type of terrorist - they don’t all fit into a convenient stereotypical box! I’d much prefer everything and everyone loaded onto an aircraft was thoroughly checked out. We digress :slight_smile: