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Britain's financial watchdog said it had fined Santander UK Plc 32.8 million pounds ($41.49 million) after it failed to effectively process the accounts and investments of customers who had died.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Santander UK did not transfer funds worth more that 183 million pounds to beneficiaries, directly affecting 40,428 customers. It added that in some cases funds were held for many years.
The retail and commercial bank, owned by Spain's Banco Santander, also had "serious failings" in its probate and bereavement process, FCA said.
Probate refers to the right to manage the affairs of the deceased.
"Santander is very sorry for the impact these failings have had on the families and beneficiaries affected. We accept the FCA's findings and have fully cooperated with their investigation," Santander UK Chief Executive Officer Nathan Bostock said.
"We have now transferred the majority of customer funds and made significant improvements to our whole probate and bereavement process."
($1 = 0.7905 pounds)