Be thankful you’re not in the offices of UBS, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, HSBC or RBS this morning.
Well, unless of course you are – in which case, maybe treat yourself to a cheer-up croissant.
The five banks have collectively just been fined $3.4bn by financial regulators in the US, UK and Switzerland following a year-long investigation into the manipulation of the foreign exchange (forex) market.
Barclays is also under investigation, but has decided to make a separate settlement at a later date.
The scandal was over rate-rigging in the forex market, where financial institutions trade a mind-boggling $5.3 trillion-worth of foreign currencies with each other every day.
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority fined the five banks a total of £1.1bn for “failing to control business practices”.
That’s the largest fine it’s ever issued.
The FCA said the banks’ actions jeopardised the “integrity” of “the wider UK financial system”, and that the magnitude of the fine reflects the “gravity of the failings we found”.
The investigation looked at failings between 2008 and 2013.
UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, has had to pay the most, hit with fines of totalling $661m from the FCA and the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
It’s also had to dish out 134m Swiss francs to Swiss regulator FINMA, which was also looking at dubious dealings in the precious metals market.
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.”
Do you think the fines are fair? Let me know @sophiehobson
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