Six banks–Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan Chase, RBS, Bank of America, and UBS–will pay, as a group, $1.4 billion to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and roughly $1.75 billion (£1.1 billion) to the U.K’s Financial Conduct Authority. UBS will additionally make a payment to Switzerland. The British regulator has never before levied such large fines and says that the investigation into possible wrongdoing at Barclays is ongoing. The U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency stated that Citbank, Bank of America, and JPMorgan Chase will pay a total of $950 million in fines.
From 2008 and 2013, relaxed controls at the banks made it possible for traders to share confidential information and collude with those at other institutions in order to fix rates and increase profits. According to the regulators, traders utilized private chatrooms online to arrange their buying and selling to shift currency prices in their favor with the goal of turning a profit for their employer banks at the expense of their clients.
The traders went by the monikers of “the players,” “the 3 musketeers,” and “the A-team.” The group made agreements to take certain positions in order the manipulate what is known as the 4 p.m. fix, which is a one-minute snapshot of afternoon trading in London that is used as the basis of a vastly used benchmark.
The Financial Conduct Authority stated that the banks did not manage blatant risks and that traders were allowed to continue their misconduct. The banks and the employees who engaged in this scheme will possibly face criminal charges in both the United Kingdom and the United States for attempting to manipulate rates.
Reportedly, all of the banks have cooperated in the investigations and a few have even taken preventive measures to ensure this does not happen again.
The banks’ fines will be distributed as such: JPMorgan Chase and Citibank will each pay $1 billion, UBS will pay $800 million, RBS will pay $634 million, HSBC will pay $618 million, and Bank of America will pay $250 million.
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