“Please God don’t let it be money laundering” and “Heavens above, why can’t they get the concept of source of wealth?” may well be familiar phrases in the lexicon of the MLRO. But although a greater power – greater even than the Director General of the local FIU – may be invoked on occasion, I think it is rare for a financial regulator to have an in-house fast-track to the Almighty. Except, that is, in Guernsey.
Last week it was announced in the local newspaper that a former employee of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission – a woman with decades of experience in the financial sector – has forsaken mammon for God and is returning to the GFSC as its chaplain. The idea is for the chaplain to provide a friendly ear into which Commission staff can unburden themselves, through monthly meditations and reflective lunchtime services. Interestingly – and I’m still working on this one – the Bishop of Dover is of the view that “a chaplain is rather like a court jester – they are trusted and they can say something no-one else is able or willing to say”. I’m not sure that employing an in-house jester strikes quite the dignified note to which a financial regulator might aspire… And I’d be interested to know whether regulators in other jurisdictions offer something similar. In the meantime, as my husband used to say when enduring long church services as a small boy, thanks Peter God.
(For non-Guernsey readers, the GFSC’s address is Glategny Court in St Peter Port.)