European Commission Imposes EUR 1.71 Billion Fine for Participating in Illegal Cartels
On December 4, the European Commission announced that it had fined eight international banks a total of more than 1.7 billion for their participation in illegal cartels in markets for financial derivatives covering the European Economic Area.
Using the cartel settlement procedure, the Commission reached two separate decisions; one decision involved seven separate bilateral infringements relating to interest rate derivatives denominated in Japanese yen. The companies involved were UBS, RBS, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Citigroup and RP Martin.
The other decision was made in relation to a collusion by four banks in relation to interest rate derivatives denominated in euro. The banks were Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBS and Société Générale. Utilizing the Commission's 2006 Leniency Notice, Barclays and UBS received complete immunity from fines. Announcement.
FCA Publishes Speech on Future of Retail Banking
On November 26, the FCA published a speech made by the FCA Director of Supervision on the future of retail banking and the issues identified by the FCA.
In particular, the speech notes that banks must focus on rebuilding consumer trust, dealing with new and potentially threatening technologies, addressing changes in consumer behavior in light of technological developments and addressing issues such as misselling and building a stronger business model.
The speech also notes that the FCA intends to encourage a competitive market and urges banks to focus on evolving in a consumer friendly way. Speech.
Council of EU Publishes UK Issues Paper on MLD4
On November 24, the Council of the European Union published a note (dated November 8, 2013) from the Council Presidency to Council Delegations which includes a UK issues paper on the fourth Money Laundering Directive (MLD4). The issues paper states that the UK welcomes MLD4, but notes certain points for discussion. In particular, the UK highlights the issue of beneficial ownerships of companies and misuse of trusts.
The UK suggests that central registries of company beneficial ownership would help to break through corporate secrecy and reveal who truly owns companies. To further this aim, the UK has pledged to make the UK's central registry of company beneficial ownership publically accessible. The UK is also taking part in an automatic information exchange pilot with France, Italy, Spain and Germany in order to tackle tax evasion and the use of trusts for illegal purposes.
According to an EU press release, these issues were discussed at the November 2013 ECOFIN conference. Note. Press Release.