The City watchdog has hit financial firms with nearly £1.5bn of penalties so far this year – more than three times the record level of fines it levied in 2013.
With more than a month until the end of 2014, last week’s £42m fine against Royal Bank of Scotland for its computer meltdown in 2012 took the penalties on banks, other companies and individuals to £1.47bn – up from £474.3m for all of last year.
This year’s figure was boosted by £1.1bn of penalties this month against banks that manipulated foreign exchange markets. Each of the fines imposed on Royal Bank of Scotland, Citibank, JP Morgan and UBS was a record for the regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority.
Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s head of enforcement and financial crime, said: “We don’t set ourselves targets for the number of fines we will issue in a given period. What we look at is whether the sanctions we do impose are having an impact on behaviour. In all cases we seek to use the approach which we believe will be most effective in driving up standards.”
McDermott said fines were part of the FCA’s wider effort to clean up the City including tougher vetting of those in senior people, closer supervision of firms and stricter rules.
Rachel Couter, a partner at the law firm King & Wood Mallesons, said the figures showed the FCA was taking a tougher line, particularly with repeat offenders and companies that made big money from their wrongdoing.
“The recent foreign exchange fines clearly dwarf any of the other fines imposed this year. But there have been a number of other significant fines, particularly of institutions that have earned a lot of revenue from the business area where the breaches occurred.
via The Guardian