The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Aon Limited (Aon) £5.25m following suspicious payments of around $7m to overseas third parties between 2005 and 2007.

The FSA imposed the sanction after finding Aon, the UK arm of Aon Corp, had breached Principle 3 of the FSA's Principles for Business. Principle 3 states that a firm "must take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems". The FSA stated that Aon failed to establish and maintain systems and controls for countering the risks of bribery and corruption associated with making payments to assist Aon in winning business in high risk jurisdictions.

Although Aon had a Code of Business Conduct that in place during the relevant period, the FSA found that Aon staff were not given adequate training on the anti-bribery statements contained in this Code. In determining the sanction imposed on Aon, the FSA considered a number of factors. These were:

  • the need to deter the involvement of UK financial institutions in corrupt or potentially corrupt practices overseas
  • the serious nature of Aon's breaches and the value of the suspicious payments made
  • that the FSA did not consider the misconduct as deliberate or reckless
  • Aon's size and financial resources
  • the amount of benefit gained (or loss avoided) as a result of the suspicious payments

The FSA noted that the seriousness of the breaches were mitigated by steps taken by Aon's current senior management, including the appointment of external professional advisors to review its systems and controls and all payments made to overseas third parties between 2002 and 2007. Aon has also, since 2007, materially enhanced its anti-bribery and corruption systems and controls at significant expense.

The full FSA notice can be found here.