2014 was a busy year for the UK’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which brought in a record £1,471,431,800 in fines - more than twice the previous record year.
However, £1.1 billion of the FCA’s naughty list was made up by just five banks, and these record fines have sparked fears of conduct risk, or a risk of punitive fines, in some quarters.
Here are the 10 highest fines levied by the FCA in 2014 and what they were for.
UBS has the dubious honour of being the recipient of the highest fine ever levied by a UK regulator. However, this whopping, nearly a quarter of a billion pound-fine is actually a 30 per cent discount because the five banks involved in the forex scandal all pleaded guilty early. Combined with its fine from US financial regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CTFC), its total fines were a massive £503m.
Much like UBS and the other banks involved in the forex rate-fixing scandal, Citibank was very reluctant to fight the case. It was also hit with a £194.6m fine by the CFTC.
JPMorgan Chase is no stranger to the FCA's naughty list - it has featured almost every year for the past five years. However, this is the largest fine the bank has ever received, with combined total fines of £417m over the scandal, including £195m from the CFTC.
RBS may not have faced the largest fine, however last month it became the first bank to have one of its former forex traders facing criminal arrest. RBS’ total fines over the forex rate fixing scandal was £399m including £182m by the CFTC.
In November, HSBC confirmed it has set aside $378m (£249m) aside for fines - although combined with penalties from the US regulator, HSBC’s total over the rate fixing scandal hit £389m, a massive difference even when you don’t take into account the exchange rate.
2014’s other major financial scandal was Libor, where several banks (Lloyds among them) colluded to fix the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) - a key interest rate used by banks for short-term lending to other institutions - rate which is the rate at which banks lend to each other.
It’s been a tough year for RBS’ beleaguered boss, Ross McEwan, with two major fines in one year. McEwan made headlines in July 2014 when he said in an interview that the forex scandal would be “bigger than Libor”, a statement which seemed absurd at the time when Libor fines were the largest ever levied by the UK regulators.
Barclays isn't the only bank to feature twice on this list (RBS shares that accolade) - but it does so while also being investigated for both the Libor and forex - more fines are expected to follow. The bank was fined by the FCA in September when it failed to protect funds a client had entrusted to them in custody.
The only non-bank to make the top 10 this year HomeServe, which was slapped with a massive £30m fine after it was found it had not only mis-sold insurance to its clients, but also failed to investigate claims in a timely manner.
Barclays is not only featured twice on 2014 list, it's also the most repeatedly fined entity by the FCA in the last five years. It received its first fine of 2014 in May, over an incident in 2012 where it failed to manage conflict of interest.
Complete list of the FCA’s 2014 fines and what they were for: