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April 15, 2014

UK watchdog targets bankers with big rise in penalties

“Wayward UK bankers risk increasingly large fines as the amount of individual penalties levied by the country’s financial watchdog has increased 76 per cent over the past two years.

“The Financial Conduct Authority and its predecessor meted out fines totalling £35.5m on individuals in 2012 and 2013, compared with £20.1m in 2010 and 2011, while it also imposed more lifetime bans, barring 72 people in 2013 from working in financial services, compared with 66 in 2012, according to new research.

“The tougher regime reflects more political and public scrutiny on bankers and other financial-services professionals after a spate of scandals since the financial crisis. The Financial Services Authority, the FCA’s predecessor, was criticised for not punishing chief executives under whose watch banks had failed.

“Fining institutions is all very well, but there’s a suspicion that they tend to accept the cost as a risk of doing business,” said Peter Bibby, a former FSA official who is now a partner at Brown Rudnick, the law firm that undertook the research. “Increasingly, whenever an investigation is opened into a business, the FCA will be looking to haul managers over the coals.”

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Read full Financial Times article here.

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