US regulators reached settlements with a dozen banks in a sprawling probe into how global financial firms failed to monitor employees’ communications on unauthorized messaging apps, bringing total penalties in the matter to more than $2 billion.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced $1.1 billion in fines and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission disclosed $710 million in penalties in separate statements Tuesday. Those levies -- against firms including
“Finance, ultimately, depends on trust. By failing to honor their record-keeping and books-and-records obligations, the market participants we have charged today have failed to maintain that trust,” SEC Chair
Tuesday’s announcements cap months of discussions between regulators and the banks.
JPMorgan had been the only bank until now to reach a settlement with the regulators, and was the first to report the fines, in December. Even managing directors and other senior supervisors at the largest US bank had skirted regulatory scrutiny by using services such as WhatsApp or personal email addresses for work-related communication, regulators said at the time.
Finance firms are required to scrupulously monitor communications involving their business to head off improper conduct. That system, already challenged by the proliferation of mobile-messaging apps, was strained further as firms sent workers home shortly after the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
In the SEC probe, eight firms agreed to penalties of $125 million each:
Bank of America had the biggest CFTC penalty, at $100 million, followed by Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS at $75 million each. Nomura was fined $50 million, Jefferies $30 million and Cantor Fitzgerald $6 million.
(Updates with individual SEC, CFTC fines in last two paragraphs.)
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