View more on these topics

Undercover police officers to be sent into financial services firms


The City of London police is to start sending undercover police into financial services firms to tackle financial crime.

Speaking at a Financial Conduct Authority conference on financial crime in London today, City of London police chief superintendent Oliver Shaw said criminals need to know the police are “looking over their shoulder”.

He said: “You will see increased covert surveillance on trading floors. We will be putting undercover officers into financial institutions. We will be tape recording, audio recording and possibly video recording their activities. They need to know we are looking over their shoulder.”


FCA hails 32% fall in boiler room scams

The Financial Conduct Authority says the number of boiler room investment scams in the UK fell by 32 per cent last year. FCA figures show there were 768 complaints about investment scams in 2011 compared to 525 last year and just 97 so far in 2013. Despite the fall the FCA estimates £1m a month […]

Advisers: Most new assets will be in clean funds in 12 months

Two thirds of advisers expect the majority of new platform business to go into clean share classes over the next 12 months, according to research from Axa Elevate. From a sample of 300 advisers, 52 per cent say they expect more than 75 per cent of new business inflows to be placed in clean share […]

Clive Waller to leave Income Protection Task Force

Income Protection Task force co-chairman Clive Waller will step down from his role at the end of the year. Peter Le Beau will become the sole chairman of the organisation, which was set up to improve awareness and take up of income protection. Waller has been a senior partner at CWC Research, which provides research […]

Benefits - thumbnail

Global benefits predictions for 2015 from Jelf International

According to Doug Rice, managing director of international services, in 2015, managing their international duty of care will become an increasing focus for UK-based overseas organisations in both managing their short- and longer-term challenges. As a result, strong independent advice and innovative technological solutions will become more important than ever in managing their global benefits.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 30 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. No need for the FCA then we can be regulated by the Police. No wonder you don’t see them patrolling the streets now – too busy on the ‘trading floor’ video recording the nasty crooks. Thought all financial institutes taped everything anyway for theirs & your protection – obviusly not.

  2. So traders are deemed to be criminals? It may be easy to pretend to be an environmental campaigner, rather harder to pretend to be a financial trader. So their covers will be some incidental role, in all probability. With credibility gained from sleeping with someone trusted by others?

  3. It is one thing to investigate substantive allegations of criminal activity. However, it is an entirely different matter to send undercover policemen into banks in the absence of such concerns.

    A cynic might suggest that, following last week’s allegations that the Met Policy conducted undercover activities in order to smear Stephen Lawrence’s family, that they are conducting survellience on the sector in society most unlikely to garner public support – the bankers!

    At a time that the police are complaining about a lack of public funding, such populist bandwagon jumping is beneath contempt.

  4. Simon Webster 1st July 2013 at 4:12 pm

    It is a sad fact that a dodgy dealer can steal more money from more pensioners than all of the county’s muggers combined

  5. Police under scrutiny
    The MPs cite a number of investigations currently ongoing into suspected police failings, including:

    Operation Alice – into the plebgate affair involving former minister Andrew Mitchell
    Hillsborough – into an alleged cover-up of police misconduct after the disaster
    Cleveland – into a series of cases of “alleged corruption and incompetence” at the force
    Operation Herne – into the conduct of undercover officers within the Met Police
    Operation Elveden – into alleged corrupt payments by journalists to police and other public officials
    “Gaming the crime statistics” – into whether forces have been manipulating the crime recording figures to make themselves appear more successful
    from the bbc website today.
    They sound worse or at least as bad as those they seek to expose.
    This type of activity was highly favoured in former communist countries. The police have no business spying on any citizen without good reason.

  6. What a joke: Inspector Knacker attempting to put police undercover on a trading floor. He/she would be spotted quicker than a fox in a chicken run. Talk about Keystone Cops.

    And as for surveillance cameras all over trading offices; the lawyers would have a field day with the Human Rights Act.

    Is this whole article some sort of spoof?…..

    Or is Mr Shaw opening his mouth but failing to connect it to his cerebellum?……

    Or had his preposterous comments got something to do with the audience he had in front of him? I bet the FCA attendees were lapping this nonsense up more avidly than a doomsday cult being told by their leader that the end of the world was upon them a week on Friday.

  7. Oh come on! An undercover Plod? Don me a favour. How will they get in undercover? As a trader? What qualifications? Most that I have come across are not the sharpest knife in the cutlery drawer.

    All that will happen is that Financial Service personnel will now just look out for size ten boots anywhere near them. How difficult will they be to spot? Anyway judging from what was seen in phone hacking and press complaints, a few might not be averse to receiving a bung.

    I have heard of some daft initiatives, but this does beat most. What’s the matter don’t they like being out in all weathers doing the proper job? Doubtless they prefer to stand around on a nice trading floor going out for expense paid lunches and a few bottles of Bolly after work. Beats pounding the beat!

  8. You have them worried FCA! 1st July 2013 at 4:47 pm

    When you look at the comment from old dog really do have to wonder whether there is such things ethics within financial services. Instead of welcoming the authorities cracked down on dodgy dealing he or she is willing to wheel out their lawyer to protest against cameras and other devices that might actually catch him or her out at some dodgy deal.

    Mind you their can’t be many brain cells in some of the dealers when you look at some of the phone calls that were recorded for Libor rigging.

    Of course the police and serious fraud squad should have the powers to send in undercover operatives if necessary. For too long financial services has been immune from prosecution and I for one welcome the possibility that our industry should be treated the same as any other business. If there is fraud going on then individuals should be prosecuted, just like any other crime.

    We only have to look at the latest allegations to see that investment bankers and commodity dealers can and do break the rules e.g. LIBOR and possible oil and gas price fixing to name just two!

    Where there’s lots of money there is unfortunately fraud.

    It’s interesting to note from the comments above squealing that financial services has no crime and should not be investigated. When in fact one individual can lose more money in a day when he chooses to hide his losses then all of the burglaries committed in London over one year. We send burglars to prison but those caught breaking rules within financial services are given what amounts to a parking ticket and in some cases sent back to work.

    No wonder why there is no ethics

  9. @ 4.47
    “Where there’s lots of money there is unfortunately fraud”.
    There is lots of money at canary towers – they just fleeced us for another 16%

  10. Martin Bamford 1st July 2013 at 5:00 pm

    We are starting to suspect that one of the team might be an undercover copper. It’s not Andrew or Nick, but it might be PC Jenkins.

  11. About time. There are more crooks in the regulated market than in Strangeways

    They sit there on their high horses thinking they are god’s gift but giving crap advice.
    Put them all out of business like the pension liberation sharks.
    Good riddance to them all, I hope the RDR has stuffed most of them.

  12. Why stop at the FCA and the police what are MI5 doing?

  13. Lindsay Lockett 2nd July 2013 at 8:58 am

    I can see an FCA levy coming for IFAs to fund the police and their pension scheme !

  14. I wonder how it would unfold if they sent undercover officers into Canary Wharf?

    UO “so advisers pay you and you are threatening them”?

    FCA “Yes, that’s our job”

    UO “That’s demanding money with menaces”

    FCA “And we’ve put thousands of them out of business because of the RDR”

    UO “Let’s add fraud to that”

    FCA “The RDR isn’t working though so we will have to think of something else”

    UO “We have conspiracy as well. You’re nicked”

  15. I do wonder how easy it would be for an undercover officer to pass themselves off un-noticed within a company. It’s one thing to pretend you’re an eco-activist it’s another to have the qualifications required to work in financial services.

    Aside from the above i agree with other comments that feel uneasy about sending undercover officers into a company where no crime has been reported. What are they going to do? Have a snoop around and then leave if they don’t find anything only to turn up working for the next company?

    There are a number of things wrong with this announcement but overall it sounds like a soundbite that will never actually come into play.

  16. Let’s send undercover officers into claims management firms.

    That would likely uncover massive fraud, extortion and contemptible behaviour towards the industry.

  17. What we have to consider here is the background of why a regulator or indeed a government would consider such action.

    You only have to see in the last 6 years of austerity, caused mainly by a banking crisis where reckless behavious almost brought a country to it’s knees that the use of extraordinary measures may be necessary.

    I believe that if measures like this are used, they will need to be monitored under the same procedures used for terrorism after all a major failing of an organisation that is so big can have the same effect to people’s lives. That may come across as a bit dramatic but just look at what has happened since Leman Brothers went bust or even in more recent times with Libor. Big Brother should be watching as the children obviously can’t be trusted.

  18. Winston Smith 2nd July 2013 at 2:08 pm

    @ Peter Herd.

    You are a real extremist fellow.

    Police state activity doesn’t bother you, eh?

    Wait till they come knocking on your door.

  19. @ You have them worried FCA
    Actually, I am very concerned about ethics.
    What makes me laugh are the trumpetings of Inspector Knacker as to how he’s going to fix the problems. What a total joke.

    These scams are so subtle and sophisticated, they only seem to come to light when a whistleblower starts to spill the beans. Only then does the digging begin and the incredible maze of dealings begin to be exposed. They make Oceans 11 look like bumbling idiots.

    If I could draft an Act of Parliament, I would frame something along the lines of ‘Crimes Against Society’, where the deception affects a major part of the population.
    There would be no 2 year sentences in open prison, where the guilty read poetry and peel peaches. It would be a 20 year stretch behind steel doors that clang and keys that rattle, 24/7….along the lines of the Madoff sentence in the USA.

    A few examples made might reduce the frequency of the scams. It will never cap them off completely because of the sheer amount of money that can be made off the back of them.

  20. I am more inclined to agree with Old Dog than Peter Herd on this

  21. Dick Sprinkler 3rd July 2013 at 9:02 am

    @ Peter Herd

    A practising adviser in a financial firm condones the police state !

    You are clearly not only naive but bloody dangerous !

  22. Dick Sprinkler

    Why is it naive or bloody dangerous to want to protect clients were indeed have the attitude that financial crime is wrong.

    Please explain to me why those who commit financial crime should not be prosecuted by the law.

    Why is it all of a sudden that we live in a police state when financial crime is investigated for what it is fraud.

    Why is it that we seem to have the attitude of making money at any cost whilst not having the best interest of clients at heart. Those fixing LIBOR for example were more interested in their bonuses and personal profit than the individuals who ended up paying more expensive loans because of interest rate swaps.

    I’m not bloody dangerous or naive but I am bloody angry of the total lack of ethics that some people within financial services show.

    Until we start handing out sentences that fit the crime I am afraid the sharks within the profession will continue to behave badly.

  23. @ Peter Herd
    Of course those who commit financial crime should be prosecuted. Few would dispute that.
    There is a vast difference between that and what is being proposed.
    A police state is what would evolve if the police were allowed to infiltrate every business in the “hope” of finding something.
    Imagine if they are asked to reach targets each month. The result does not bear thinking about.

  24. Are you saying a plainclothes store detective is part of a police state.

    Or even a plain clothes police officer on a tube.

    It’s amazing how good children can be if they think somebody is watching particularly when you increase the penalties from fines to jail time.

  25. Majid Racchman 3rd July 2013 at 12:22 pm

    In fact, it’s not too far away from the FOS remit where it not only looks at a complaint that is levelled but then snoops through the file until it finds something else within the advice that it doesn’t like.

  26. @ Peter
    Pity your poor kids!

  27. “There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them…”

  28. Exasperated Me 4th July 2013 at 11:40 am

    Why not send them in to claimants’ homes to obtain a statement of truth?

    That is what I call financial crime, serious organised financial crime.

  29. Stuart Gilboy 5th July 2013 at 4:36 pm

    About time the got the Polis in to all you shysters!!

  30. How about sending them into Parliament to check on misuse of money obtained by deception. A minor example, but one that rankles, is putting their hands in our pockets to fund their favourite charities through overseas aide. We already support charities of our choosing with our money thankyou. What is moral about taxing our hard earned money then giving it away to boost your own egos. Oh yes- and what about the “charity” they call MAS — and the one they call FSCS ? – and why all the fuss about corporation tax – do these Company’s employees not pay inc tax and nat ins and the customers pay VAT. You made and make the rules – change them or stop moaning – but please reduce taxation and unnecessary expenditure – its our money !!.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers. Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and thought leadership.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm