ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s top financial regulator has promised more oversight of bank consultants, including large accounting firms, citing an old, ignored state law that gives his office “the power to drive reform.”
Addressing a conference on corporate responsibility this week in Binghamton, Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky said consultants are hired by banks to straighten out problems, but can be conflicted taking tough stands with the clients who pay them.
“What we realized as we were starting to look not only at Standard Chartered but at other banks who have especially anti-money-laundering problems, what we realized is consultants they were hiring to try and clean this up and to try and expose what went wrong were often almost as compromised as the banks themselves,” Lawsky said. They found nobody was regulating the consultants, but he said Department of Financial Services lawyers unearthed a century-old New York banking statute that requires department approval for consultants to access confidential bank information. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.