UK prepares forex fines for six banks on Wednesday: sources

Fri Nov 7, 2014 5:15pm EST
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By Steve Slater and Jamie McGeever

LONDON (Reuters) - British regulators investigating allegations of collusion and manipulation in the foreign exchange market could fine a group of six banks as early as next Wednesday, people familiar with the matter said.

The six banks are Switzerland's UBS UBSN.VX, U.S. banks JP Morgan (JPM.N: Quote) and Citigroup (C.N: Quote) and Britain's HSBC (HSBA.L: Quote), Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote), sources said. They are expected to be fined a total of about 1.5 billion pounds ($2.37 billion).

It would be the first settlement in the year-long global probe into the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market. Around 35 traders have been suspended or fired by their banks. No individual or institution has so far been accused of any wrongdoing.

A group settlement could be appealing to the banks, after Barclays in 2012 was singled out as the first bank to settle with regulators over a global investigation into the rigging of benchmark interest rates.

Three sources said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was working to release the coordinated settlement with the banks on Wednesday, although they said that timetable could slip if problems emerge with details.

The regulator said there was no date confirmed for any settlement. JP Morgan could not be immediately reached for comment, and the other five banks all declined to comment.

U.S. regulators are also working towards a settlement. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission could announce a settlement with a group of banks around the same time, one U.S. based source said.

The group of banks in the U.S. settlement was not necessarily the same as the group in the UK deal, although there would be overlap.   Continued...

A branch of Barclays bank is seen in central London in this photograph dated October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville