On November 12, 2014, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) imposed fines totaling approximately £1.1 billion ($1.7 billion) on five banks (Citibank N.A., JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., Royal Bank of Scotland plc, UBS N.A. and HSBC Bank plc) for failing to control business practices in their G10 spot foreign exchange (“FX”) trading operations. The FCA is launching an industry-wide remediation program so that the root causes of these failings are addressed and standards can be increased across the market. Senior management will be required to take responsibility for implementing the necessary changes and will also have  to attest that such changes have been implemented.

On the same date, the CFTC imposed fines totaling approximately $1.4 billion on the same five banks, for the manipulation of global FX benchmark rates. The OCC also fined Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc. an additional and collective $950 million, for FX trading improprieties. The CFTC requires the banks to take specified steps to strengthen their internal controls, which include the heightened supervision of FX traders. One of the primary benchmarks that FX traders attempted to manipulate is the World Markets/Reuters Closing Spot Rates (“WM/R Rates”), which are used to establish the relative values of different currencies and are the most widely referenced FX benchmark rates globally.

The press releases are available at:

http://www.fca.org.uk/news/fca-fines-five-banks-for-fx-failings;     

 http://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/pr7056-14#PrRoWMBL;

and

http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/news-releases/2014/nr- occ-2014-157.html.