Merrill Lynch International hit with record £13.2m fine as the FCA slams the "severity" of its misconduct

 
Catherine Neilan
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The FCA said it had increased the fine rate (Source: Getty)
Merrill Lynch International (MLI) has been fined £13.2m for failing to properly report a number of transactions between 2007 and 2014.
This is the highest fine imposed by the FCA for this type of failing. The watchdog said the amount levelled at the firm “reflects the severity of MLI's misconduct, failure to adequately address the root causes over several years despite substantial FCA guidance to the industry, and a poor history of transaction reporting compliance”.
The fine equates to £1.50 per line of incorrect or non-reported data, instead of the usual £1, because “past fines have not been high enough to achieve credible deterrence”.
The fine relates to two groups of failings – the first totalling 35,034,810 transactions and the second a further 121,387 transactions
Georgina Philippou, FCA's acting director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Proper transaction reporting really matters. Merrill Lynch International has failed to get this right again – despite a private warning, a previous fine, and extensive FCA guidance and enforcement action in this area.
"The size of the fine sends a clear message that we expect to be heard and understood across the industry.
"Accurate and timely reporting of transactions is crucial for us to perform effective surveillance for insider trading and market manipulation in support of our objective to ensure that markets work well and with integrity."
MLI received a 30 per cent reduction in their overall fine because it agreed to an early settlement. Without this discount the fine would have been nearly £19m.

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