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UK regulator fines five banks GBP1.1 billion for FX failings

FXStreet (London) - The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has imposed fines totalling GBP1,114,918,000 on five banks for failing to control business practices in their G10 spot foreign exchange (FX) trading operations: Citibank N.A. GBP225.575m (USD358m), HSBC Bank Plc GBP216.363m (USD343m), JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. GBP222.166m (USD352m), The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc GBP217m (USD344m) and UBS AG GBP233.814m (USD371m).

In a statement from the UK regulator it said that: “he G10 spot FX market is a systemically important financial market. At the heart of today’s action is our finding that the failings at these Banks undermine confidence in the UK financial system and put its integrity at risk.
In relation to Barclays Bank Plc, we will progress our investigation into that firm which will cover its G10 spot FX trading business and also wider FX business areas.

In addition to taking enforcement action against and investigating the six firms where we found the worst misconduct, we are launching an industry-wide remediation programme to ensure firms address the root causes of these failings and drive up standards across the market. We will require senior management at firms to take responsibility for delivering the necessary changes and attest that this work has been completed.”

Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA, said: “The FCA does not tolerate conduct which imperils market integrity or the wider UK financial system. Today’s record fines mark the gravity of the failings we found and firms need to take responsibility for putting it right. They must make sure their traders do not game the system to boost profits or leave the ethics of their conduct to compliance to worry about. Senior management commitments to change need to become a reality in every area of their business.

But this is not just about enforcement action. It is about a combination of actions aimed at driving up market standards across the industry. All firms need to work with us to deliver real and lasting change to the culture of the trading floor. This is essential to restoring the public’s trust in financial services and London maintaining its position as a strong and competitive financial centre.”

Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “Firms could have been in no doubt, especially after Libor, that failing to take steps to tackle the consequences of a free for all culture on their trading floors was unacceptable. This is not about having armies of compliance staff ticking boxes. It is about firms understanding, and managing, the risks their conduct might pose to markets. Where problems are identified we expect firms to deal with those quickly, decisively and effectively and to make sure they apply the lessons across their business. If they fail to do so they will continue to face significant regulatory and reputational costs.”

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