HSBC Bank UK requires 100+ years of financial records - Financial Ombudsman agrees!

GraceCourt
GraceCourt Posts: 317
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edited 26 November 2021 at 8:13PM in Praise, vent & warnings
I'm the Treasurer of an unincorporated association that was founded, with no capital whatsoever, in 1915... 106 years ago.   Members fully understand the importance of anti-money-laundering legislation, and we have no reason not to comply as far as is possible.  But HSBC Bank UK required us to complete a "Know Your Customer" form that required, amongst other things, the date of incorporation or commencement and how much the association was started with.   Easy - 19 June 1916, with £0.
Nope.  HSBC rejected the submission, requiring further information or else our accounts would be closed.  Ah, thinks I, they obviously mis-read the date, so I pointed out that we started over 100 years ago and everyone around at that time is now dead.  And anyway, we were started with £0!
Back came the form again.  Supply the information or your accounts will be closed... now, they even specified the actual date of closure.  What to do?  Open accounts elsewhere, but let's complain about these ridiculous requests for unobtainable information - surely this isn't a reasonable way of ensuring that money can't be laundered?  Surely HSBC employs staff with more than one brain cell?  So we agreed to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  Off went our complaint.
A complaint that the FOS is now forcibly withdrawing against our express wishes, due to the provisions of DISP 3.5.9 (4) of the Financial Conduct Authority's "Financial Handbook".  What does DISP 3.5.9 (4) actually say?  We have no idea whatsoever, because DISP 3.5.9 (4) doesn't exist... have a look on-line here, and you will see that Disp 3.5.2 is followed by DISP 3.5.6! 
No wonder the bad guys are able to launder dirty money so easily, when this is the sort of thing that non-money-launderers have to contend with.  You just couldn't make this stuff up.



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  • LaHostessAvecLaMostess
    LaHostessAvecLaMostess Posts: 214
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    edited 26 November 2021 at 8:16PM
    I'm the Treasurer of an unincorporated association that was founded, with no capital whatsoever, in 1915... 106 years ago.   Members fully understand the importance of anti-money-laundering legislation, and we have no reason not to comply as far as is possible.  But HSBC Bank UK required us to complete a "Know Your Customer" form that required, amongst other things, the date of incorporation or commencement and how much the association was started with.   Easy - 19 June 1916, with £0.
    Nope.  HSBC rejected the submission, requiring further information or else our accounts would be closed.  Ah, thinks I, they obviously mis-read the date, so I pointed out that we started over 100 years ago and everyone around at that time is now dead.  And anyway, we were started with £0!
    Back came the form again.  Supply the information or your accounts will be closed... now, they even specified the actual date of closure.  What to do?  Open accounts elsewhere, but let's complain about these ridiculous requests for unobtainable information - surely this isn't a reasonable way of ensuring that money can't be laundered?  Surely HSBC employs staff with more than one brain cell?  So we agreed to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.  Off went our complaint.
    A complaint that the FOS is now forcibly withdrawing against our express wishes, due to the provisions of DISP 3.5.9 (4) of the Financial Conduct Authority's "Financial Handbook".  What does DISP 3.5.9 (4) actually say?  We have no idea whatsoever, because DISP 3.5.9 (4) doesn't exist... have a look on-line here, and you will see that Disp 3.5.2 is followed by DISP 3.5.6! 
    No wonder the bad guys are able to launder dirty money so easily, when this is the sort of thing that non-money-launderers have to contend with.  You just couldn't make this stuff up.



    Err, really?  I just googled DISP 3.5.9 and it was the top result.

    https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/DISP/3/5.html

    DISP 3.5.9 09/07/2015

    The Ombudsman may:

    1. (1) 

      exclude evidence that would otherwise be admissible in a court or include evidence that would not be admissible in a court;

    2. (2) 

      accept information in confidence (so that only an edited version, summary or description is disclosed to the other party) where he considers it appropriate;

    3. (3) 

      reach a decision on the basis of what has been supplied and take account of the failure by a party to provide information requested; and

    4. (4) 

      treat the complaint as withdrawn and cease to consider the merits if a complainant fails to supply requested information.

  • GraceCourt
    GraceCourt Posts: 317
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    edited 27 November 2021 at 4:00AM

    Err, really?  I just googled DISP 3.5.9 and it was the top result.

    https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/DISP/3/5.html

    Thanks for that... their page layouts aren't particularly clear and it turns out that APP in the paragraph references actually mean "Appendix", hence why I couldn't find it.
    But none of that explains why the Financial Ombudsman isn't prepared to accept our complaint about HSBC closing our accounts because we're unable to provide information about what went on in 1916 - despite us making it clear that everyone involved is now dead... and they started the association with no capital at all!



  • Err, really?  I just googled DISP 3.5.9 and it was the top result.

    https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/DISP/3/5.html

    Thanks for that... their page layouts aren't particularly clear and it turns out that APP in the paragraph references actually mean "Appendix", hence why I couldn't find it.
    But none of that explains why the Financial Ombudsman isn't prepared to accept our complaint about HSBC closing our accounts because we're unable to provide information about what went on in 1916 - despite us making it clear that everyone involved is now dead... and they started the association with no capital at all!


    Well the answer appears to be they asked for that information, you failed to provide it and they determined it job done.
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 7,834
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    It's not reasonable behaviour on the part of HSBC. You have provided the information they asked for, but can't evidence the veracity of the information due to the time elapsed. If someone asked HSBC to provide accounts from 1865, when they started, could they do it? 

    They really should take a look at the information you have supplied objectively. The FOS are being idiots as well. Sometimes bureaucracies can be like this. Really the best option for your sanity is to move accounts to somewhere else. You might find a media outlet interested in the story. HSBC deserve to be ridiculed for this behaviour. 
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,222
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    Many banks don't want to deal with unincorporated clubs any more, and are pushing them to close their accounts and go elsewhere.

    I have seen this with a both club and a voluntary group I am involved in.

    All you can really do is take your money elsewhere. Or turn the club into a company limited by guarantee, if it's big enough to justify all the paperwork needed.
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • Undervalued
    Undervalued Posts: 8,790
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    Err, really?  I just googled DISP 3.5.9 and it was the top result.

    https://www.handbook.fca.org.uk/handbook/DISP/3/5.html

    Thanks for that... their page layouts aren't particularly clear and it turns out that APP in the paragraph references actually mean "Appendix", hence why I couldn't find it.
    But none of that explains why the Financial Ombudsman isn't prepared to accept our complaint about HSBC closing our accounts because we're unable to provide information about what went on in 1916 - despite us making it clear that everyone involved is now dead... and they started the association with no capital at all!


    Surely any bank is entitled to decide that they don't want to deal with a particular customer any more (obviously excluding legally protected reasons such as race etc) and can close their account just by giving appropriate notice?

    As another poster has said, sadly most banks don't want these type of accounts any more.
  • GraceCourt
    GraceCourt Posts: 317
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    edited 30 November 2021 at 5:35PM

    Surely any bank is entitled to decide that they don't want to deal with a particular customer any more (obviously excluding legally protected reasons such as race etc) and can close their account just by giving appropriate notice?

    As another poster has said, sadly most banks don't want these type of accounts any more.
    It's still shocking that the Financial Ombudsman Service won't accept complaints about financial service providers from unincorporated associations that are not trusts or charities: even if commercial interests mean that banks (etc.) no longer want to provide services to such associations, they still have to provide those services according to the Financial Conduct Authority's rules.
    Except, of course, to associations such as ours, when they can throw the rule book out of the window, as the FCA Handbook rules don't protect them.  So, organisations such as Brownie packs and charitable community groups have no recourse whatsoever when they get poor service or treatment from their banks.
    It's a lacuna in the rules that really needs to be addressed.
  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628
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    Surely any bank is entitled to decide that they don't want to deal with a particular customer any more (obviously excluding legally protected reasons such as race etc) and can close their account just by giving appropriate notice?

    As another poster has said, sadly most banks don't want these type of accounts any more.
    It's still shocking that the Financial Ombudsman Service won't accept complaints about financial service providers from unincorporated associations that are not trusts or charities: even if commercial interests mean that banks (etc.) no longer want to provide services to such associations, they still have to provide those services according to the Financial Conduct Authority's rules.
    Except, of course, to associations such as ours, when they can throw the rule book out of the window, as the FCA Handbook rules don't protect them.  So, organisations such as Brownie packs and charitable community groups have no recourse whatsoever when they get poor service or treatment from their banks.
    It's a lacuna in the rules that really needs to be addressed.
    They have quoted the rule that they have requested information that you/your organisation has refused/failed to provide not that its because you are an unincorporated association.
  • jimbo6977
    jimbo6977 Posts: 1,222
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    edited 30 November 2021 at 10:45PM
    Sandtree said:

    Surely any bank is entitled to decide that they don't want to deal with a particular customer any more (obviously excluding legally protected reasons such as race etc) and can close their account just by giving appropriate notice?

    As another poster has said, sadly most banks don't want these type of accounts any more.
    It's still shocking that the Financial Ombudsman Service won't accept complaints about financial service providers from unincorporated associations that are not trusts or charities: even if commercial interests mean that banks (etc.) no longer want to provide services to such associations, they still have to provide those services according to the Financial Conduct Authority's rules.
    Except, of course, to associations such as ours, when they can throw the rule book out of the window, as the FCA Handbook rules don't protect them.  So, organisations such as Brownie packs and charitable community groups have no recourse whatsoever when they get poor service or treatment from their banks.
    It's a lacuna in the rules that really needs to be addressed.
    They have quoted the rule that they have requested information that you/your organisation has refused/failed to provide not that its because you are an unincorporated association.
    I see it not as a failure to provide information (the date and monetary amount have clearly been provided), but rather a lack of evidence. 

    Do the FCA rules require evidence? Not on the face of it, but one could argue it would be reasonable to ask for something to back up the purported information, however it might further be argued that it would UNreasonable to expect an unincorporated association to produce detailed documents from 100+ years ago. 

    Ps. Try explaining unincorporated associations to French civil servants. 


    EDITED TO READ FCA NOT FOS
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