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November 20, 2015

Robert Jenkins: “The charge sheet of misdeeds – both acknowledged and alleged is lengthy”

On Tuesday, November 17, 2015 Better Markets Senior Fellow Robert Jenkins delivered the keynote address at the Finance Watches Conference on “Confidence, ethics, and incentives in the financial sector”.  His speech “When Timidity Triumphs…” highlights the challenges within our banking system when financial institutions are “too big to fail, bail and jail,” and the need to restore accountability in our financial system. As Mr. Jenkins said in his speech:

“[B]efore considering what’s to be done let us recall the magnitude of what financiers did. The charge sheet of misdeeds – both acknowledged and alleged is lengthy.” Here is a partial list:

  • Mis-selling of payment protection insurance
  • Mis-selling interest rate swaps
  • Mis-selling credit card theft insurance
  • Mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities
  • Mis-selling of municipal bond investment strategies
  • Mis-selling of structured deposit investments 
  • Mis-selling of foreign exchange products
  • Fraud related to the packaging and selling of mortgage-backed securities that institutions knew to be “toxic waste”
  • Misleading statements to investors involving capital raising rights issue
  • Misleading investors in the sale of collateralised debt obligations
  • Abusive small business lending practices
  • Predatory mortgage practices
  • Abusive or in inappropriate foreclosure practices
  • Aiding and abetting tax evasion
  • Aiding and abetting money laundering for violent drug cartels
  • Violations of rogue-regime sanctions
  • Manipulation of Euribor
  • Manipulation of FX markets
  • Manipulation of gold fixing (London)
  • Manipulation of commodity markets via metals warehousing practices
  • Manipulation of electricity markets (California/JPM)
  • Manipulation of the swaps market benchmark index (Isdafix)
  • Collusion relating to credit default swap market dealing in violation of US anti-trust laws (“settlement” reached with authorities to resolve allegations)
  • Filing false statements with the SEC (London Whale)
  • Keeping false books and records (London Whale)
  • Reporting failures relating to Madoff
  • Withholding of critical information from Italian regulators
  • Bribing civil service employees in Japan
  • Mis-reporting related to Barclays emergency capital raising
  • Stealing confidential regulatory information by a banker
  • Collusion with Greek authorities to mislead EU policy makers on meeting Euro criteria
  • Financial engineering with the aim of moving Italian debt off-balance sheet
  • Manipulation of risk models with the aim of minimizing reported Risk Weighted Assets / capital requirements
  • Electronic FX trading related market manipulation*
  • Process and control failures with respect to dealings with the ultra-wealthy/ “politically exposed persons”. (ElephanDeal – Barclays 11/’15)*
  • Failure to prevent bribery of African officials (Standard Chartered)*
  • Peddling complex tax avoidance strategies to corporate clients (Deutsche)*
  • Improperly providing information about a Japanese company to its clients (Deutsche)* 
  • Abuses relating to dark pool trading platforms**
  • Failure to disclose conflict of interests to wealth management clients**
  • Misleading investors with wrong / incomplete information**
  • Conspiracy to commit multi-million dollar securities fraud**
  • Overcharging customers for FX transactions**
  • Failure to meet the terms of the 2013 Mortgage foreclosure abuses settlement**
  • Repeated violation of federal laws connected with sourcing securities for client shorting**
  • Manipulation of Korean stock market**
  • Unfairly jumping the creditor queue to secure (confiscate?) collateral relating to Lehman
  • Publishing research and trading in the shares of a company it was advising
  • Other mortgage related abuses including: failing to accurately track payments by borrowers; charging unauthorized fees; and providing false and misleading information in response to complaints by customers. (HSBC) ***
  • Use of minority owned non-consolidated subsidiaries to arbitrage capital requirements ****
  • Investment bank analysts altering stock research recommendations to curry favour with companies they are researching ****
  • Use of illegal offshore schemes to avoid paying income tax on bonuses ****
  • Ex Federal Reserve employee working at Goldman conspired with former Central Bank colleague to leak confidential information *****
  • Overcharging custody clients through the use of undisclosed or secret mark-ups on foreign exchange transactions in contradiction of its promise to clients of “best execution rates” *****

And currently under investigation…

  • Manipulation of precious metals markets (gold/silver/platinum/palladium – Switzerland)
  • Manipulation / collusion of the US Treasury Market auction/client sales
  • Manipulation of energy markets
  • Short changing clients a second time in not paying settlements in full
  • Violations connected with emergency fund raisings
  • Electronic FX trading related market manipulation (NY DFS investigation)
  • Falsifying customer data and records
  • Misleading clients over dark pools
  • Misleading shareholders ahead of RBS rights issue
  • Misleading shareholder information with respect to Lloyds takeover of HBOs
  • Conspiracy to force small businesses into bankruptcy to the benefit of the lender
  • Insertion of illegal rate floors in Spanish mortgage lending
  • Faking customer files to justify predatory foreclosure practices
  • Misleading profit and capital statements based on questionable accounting practices
  • Bribing (“Improper payments”) officials in connection with license applications in Saudi Arabia*
  • Hiring sons and daughters of senior officials in return for favours*
  • Fabricating complaint letters after the fact to justify dismissal of a whistle-blower who raised alarms over possible mis-selling of mutual funds.*
  • “Mis-informing” (lying) to 4500 people over existence of dormant accounts*
  • Use of “mirror trades” ($10 billions worth) to circumvent Russian related sanctions**
  • Overcharging customers who are past due on their credit cards** 
  • Market rigging of Gilt trading** 
  • Hiding failed Loans in the commercial real estate portfolio in 2009 and 2010 whilst issuing new stock to repay government bail-out money**
  • Non transparent and excess charges for FX transfers by major UK banks to small businesses in the UK**
  • Manipulating share holdings around dividend payment dates to trigger dishonestly acquired tax reimbursements. ***
  • Manipulation of the Australian “bank bill swap rates.” ***
  • Manipulation of the government sponsored bond market (supranational, sub-sovereign and government debt or “SSA market.”)***
  • Use of secret / undisclosed payments of circa $500mio connected with emergency capital funding ****
  • Knowingly acquiring “dirty debt” (a loan used as part of a multi-million pound embezzlement scheme) and using it to demand compensation from an African government ****
  • Conspiracy with borrower to falsify work estimates totaling $400 million of fraudulent accounts receivable ****
  • Facilitating fraudulent activity by customers via use of import advance payments****
  • “Spoofing” in trading of US government bonds ****
  • Laundering the proceeds of Petrobras related corruption ****
  • Mis-selling of “lobo” loans to UK Local Councils ****
  • Fraud and criminal mismanagement in connection with account management for the former prime minister of Georgia ****
  • Forcing customers to switch from variable (“tracker”) mortgages into fixed rate mortgages – in a falling / low rate environment ****
  • Mis-selling expensive life insurance products to little old ladies in France
  • Facilitating African money laundering on a grand scale
  • Misleading Libor submissions with the aim of boosting confidence in the bank’s perceived credit worthiness
  • Conspiring to facilitate VAT evasion through manipulative carbon trading transactions
  • Knowingly misleading a major investor in a high stakes deal 
  • Misleading inexperienced officials in a nascent Libyan SWF into complex and ultimately loss making derivatives trades
  • Mishandling of the proceeds of securities offerings for a state investment fund
  • Offering for use, false and misleading valuation opinions on M&A transactions to curry favour with wealth management clients 

* This post was updated to reflect this addition on Monday, December 14, 2015. 

* * This post was updated to reflect this addition on Wednesday, January 27, 2016. 

*** This post was updated to reflect this addition on Wednesday, February 10, 2016.

****This post was updated to reflect this addition on Tuesday May 3, 2016.

*****This post was updated to reflect this addition on Tuesday August 2, 2016.

You can download Mr. Jenkins full speech, When Timidity Triumphs…, here.



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