FSCA revokes Salt Asset Management FSP licence.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has revoked the operating licence of Salt Asset Management (SAM), following the company's Financial Intelligence Centre Act breaches.
The asset management company was recently implicated in an Al Jazeera investigation into alleged money laundering for a global gold smuggling ring.
The withdrawal means the firm is barred from conducting business as a financial services provider under the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act. It also cannot render any financial services to clients or on behalf of any financial product provider until such time as the FSCA opts to rescind its licence withdrawal.
FSCA confirmed in a statement on Friday that its withdrawal of SAM's licence – in terms of section 9(4)(a)(ii) of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, No. 37 of 2002 (FAIS Act) – came into effect on 15 September 2023.
The decision follows adverse findings following an FSCA site inspection between 29 November 2022 and 1 December 2022. During the inspection, the FSCA noted several contraventions of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, in addition to previous contraventions during its ongoing supervision of Salt.
As such, the FSCA found SAM to have breached several requirements of the FIC Act, one of which was the failure to develop, document, maintain and implement a risk management and compliance programme for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing.
The decision by the FSCA to revoke Salt Asset Management's licence is part of a larger crackdown on financial crime in South Africa. The country has been working to improve its regulatory and legal frameworks in order to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.
South Africa has seen an increase in financial crime in recent years, with several high-profile cases coming to light. The country's financial authorities have come under increasing pressure to take decisive action to address the problem.
The FSCA's decision to revoke Salt Asset Management’s licence underscores the gravity of the situation and sends a strong message to other South African financial services firms. The regulator has stated unequivocally that it will not tolerate any form of financial crime and will take firm action against those who are found to be in violation of the law.