- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five banks that deal on the worldwide arena have been collectively fined more than $3 billion after American, British and Swiss regulators found they tried to control and manipulate foreign exchange markets.

The banks that were fined include Citibank, JPMorgan Chase Bank. Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC Bank and UBS, the Los Angeles Times reported. They agreed to a settlement of nearly $3.4 billion. Meanwhile, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority — which conducted the investigation in concert with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority — said it was still looking in Barclays Bank for any improprieties.

“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, the Los Angeles Times reported. “They must make sure their traders do to game the system to boost profits.”

About $5.3 trillion is traded on the global foreign exchange market — every day.

The regulators discovered that between Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2013, the five banks failed to train and supervise their foreign currency traders, the Los Angeles Times reported. As a result, traders formed groups that shared client activities.

“Traders shared the information obtained through these groups to help them work out their trading strategies,” the FCA said, the Los Angeles Times reported. “They then attempted to manipulate to fix rates and trigger client ‘stop loss’ orders.”

The groups then tried to turn the manipulation to their advantage and grow their banks’ profits, the FCA said,

“It is completely unacceptable … for firms to engage in attempts at manipulation for their own benefit and to the potential detriment of certain clients and other market participants,” the U.K. regulator said, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Some of the involved banks have already take disciplinary action against employees and launched their own internal investigations, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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