FSA gets tough with £66m in fines last year

THE FINANCIAL Services Authority (FSA) imposed over £66m in fines last year, including a retail fine for a whopping £10.5m imposed on HSBC for mis-selling investment bonds to elderly customers.

The watchdog also showed its muscle by ordering large financial groups to pay more than £160m in compensation to customers – a huge rise from 2010 when corporations were ordered to pay £62m by way of redress.

Barclays was hit hardest, with a £7.7m fine and order for £59m compensation over failings in the way it sold two of its funds to retail customers.

But other UK banks also faced stiff fines, with other penalties including £6.3m for Coutts & Company, £5.95m for Credit Suisse, £3.5m for Bank of Scotland and £2.8m for RBS and NatWest.

The total amount of fines issued by the regulator was the second largest total in a calendar year – down only from 2010’s £89m tally, which included £33.3m against JP Morgan and £17.5m against Goldman Sachs.

The £12.9m of penalties to individuals last year was a record high, and the average penalty was £313,655, up from £149,358 in 2010, according to law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain.