Was this the week of hiring spooky intelligence people in the financial industry? Because we didn’t get the reminder. Yesterday we were treated with the news of general Petraeus being hired as the head of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’s new KKR Global Institute, and then general counsel of Bridgewater was reported to be Obama’s pick for new FBI Director, and now HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) welcomes its own top secret person Jonathan Evans, former DG of MI5, as its brand new non-executive director.
It seems the marriage of intelligentsia and financial sector is essentially complete, and the celebrations should begin. We admit that James Comey’s nomination for FBI is not strictly the type of matchmaking we are referring to (he was a Deputy Attorney General before he worked at Bridgewater), but it helps our cause so we like throwing it in the same basket.
Coming to Jonathan Evans, he will not only be a non-executive director but will also serve as a member of Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee. The committee is involved with increasing the bank’s compliance to anti-money laundering laws. The committee helps with protecting the bank from playing into the hands of terrorists, drug traffickers, an area where HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) is in real need of improvement.
HSBC Attempted To Settle A Money Laundering Scandal
Not very long ago, HSBC attempted to settle a money laundering scandal by shelling out $1.9 billion, a record amount. The British bank was accused of helping drug traffickers transfer money from Mexico through US. In addition the US probe also alleged that the bank had allowed dealings with Iran which was under sanctions at that time. The settlement deal is yet to be approved by US Federal judge who remains unconvinced of HSBC’s innocence and its commitment to transparency.
Evans began his career in UK’s intelligence unit in 1980’s, he was appointed deputy director general in 2005. Last year HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) hired a former undersecretary from US Treasury Department as its chief legal officer.