Fines issued by the FCA during 2015 went down despite the year’s huge Libor penalties.
During the year the regulator issued £905,219,078 in levies compared with nearly £1.5bn in the previous year. But this is still high compared with 2013, the first year of the FCA’s existence, when the City watchdog only issued £474m in fines.
The fact that fines remain at a high level is due to six banks having been fined US$5.7bn (£3.8bn) by American and British authorities for rigging foreign exchange markets. Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, JP Morgan, UBS, Citigroup and Bank of America were told to pay the series of fines in May by the FCA, the Federal Reserve and the US Department of Justice.
In total, the FCA’s penalties for foreign exchange rigging during 2015 were £227m to Deutsche Bank AG and £284m to Barclays, the latter being the largest financial penalty ever imposed by the FCA or its predecessor the FSA.
Excluding foreign exchange manipulation, the FCA’s largest fine went to The Bank of New York Mellon London branch and The Bank of New York Mellon International Limited, which paid £126m for failing to comply with rules which apply to safe custody assets and to client money.
Meanwhile the FCA’s American counterparts Finra and the SEC only levied fines of US$81.3m (£54.4m) and US$298.35m (£199.8m) respectively during 2015.
The FCA also banned 23 people from operating within the financial sector, either completely or from holding a senior position – up from the 20 people from last year.
A total of 110 final notices were published during 2015 – roughly similar to 2014’s figure.
As well as a decreased amount of money collected in fines, the FCA also published fewer thematic reviews. Only 13 were published during 2015, compared with 21 in 2014.
In total this amounted to 331 pages of thematic review over the course of the year – or nearly 1.25kg of A4 paper.
Simon Mansell, director of Worcestershire-based Temple Bar Indendepent Financial Advice, said: “There are certain individuals that we need to be rid of, and I would have no issue with that.
“A proactive regulator is not a bad thing as long as it is directed appropriately. With regards to the fines, the question is where those fines end up.
“I think it would be healthier if we saw the fines directly reinvested into better regulation.”