Five global banks fined $3.4 b for forex market rigging

| | Updated on: Nov 12, 2014
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Ineffective controls allowed traders to put own interests ahead of clients’

British, American and Swiss regulators on Wednesday slapped fines totalling $3.4 billion (₹20, 900 crore) on five banks after a global regulatory probe found them guilty of rigging the foreign exchange market.

Five banks, including HSBC, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, the Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS, have been fined £1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) by Britain’s market regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority for failings over foreign exchange operations. Simultaneously, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission imposed fines totalling $1.4 billion on the same five banks while UBS faced an additional fine of $138 million from the Swiss regulator, FINMA.

The FCA slapped a fine of £225.5 million on Citibank, while HSBC faced a penalty of £216 million. JP Morgan Chase, RBS and UBS were fined £222.1 million, £217 million, and £233 million respectively.

The fines related to failure to control business practices in the banks’ G10 foreign exchange trading operations, a market that FCA said was “systematically important.”

The banks failed in their responsibility to manage obvious risks that included conflicts of interest and confidentiality, the FCA said.

“Between January 1, 2008 and October 15, 2013 ineffective controls at the banks allowed G10 spot FX traders to put the banks’ interests ahead of those of their clients, other market participants and the wider UK financial system.” As a result, traders were able to behave “unacceptably” as they shared confidential information, often colluding with other traders, and attempted to manipulate G10 spot FX currency rates.

“Today’s record fines mark the gravity of the failings we found and firms need to take responsibility for putting it right,” said Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive of the FCA.

Probe into Barclays

Attention will now focus on Barclays, with which a settlement has not yet been reached.

The FCA said its investigation of Barclays would continue and extend beyond its G10 spot FX trading business to its wider FX business.

Published on November 29, 2017

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