UK watchdog dishes out record £312m in fines

By James Barnes

03 January 2013 at 12:11 BST

Britain's financial watchdog dished out a record-breaking £312 million in fines last year, fulfilling a promise to hit hard on big name companies for several high-profile scandals and compliance failings.

Banking scandals led to record year for fines

The Financial Services Authority – which is set to be dismantled in April – handed out two of the largest fines in its history to UBS and Barclays for manipulating Libor and Euribor rates on its way to more than tripling its previous record haul of £89m in 2010.

Shining a light

The Financial Times newspaper reports that Tracey McDermott -- who will continue to head enforcement when the division moves to the new Financial Conduct Authority – said: ‘Our enforcement cases play a key role in shining a light into practices by some firms and individuals in the sector that bring the whole industry into disrepute. If the industry wishes to regain the confidence and trust of the public it must learn the lessons from these cases.’


Simon Orton, a partner at London-based magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, told the newspaper: ‘Over the last 12 months, we have seen a definite shift by the authority towards preventive and interventionist action, with the FSA trying to get in early and prevent behaviour which it believes will lead to harm.
‘This shift away from an after-the-event approach is set to increase and it means that the line between supervision and enforcement is increasingly blurred.’


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