Four-year-old enforcement action with BofA for FX practices terminated

An enforcement action related to foreign exchange operations against Bank of America taken in 2015 has been terminated as of Nov. 22, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday.

The four-year action, which, when applied on May 20, 2015, included six large financial institutions including BofA, included a fine for the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank of $208 million. The action was taken against the six major banking organizations for their unsafe and unsound practices in the foreign exchange (FX) markets, the Fed said at the time.

Total fines against the banking organizations were more than $1.8 billion. The other banking companies cited in the action were UBS AG, Barclays Bank PLC, Citigroup Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (RBS).

The Fed also issued cease-and-desist orders requiring all of the banks to improve their policies and procedures for oversight and controls over activities in the wholesale FX and similar types of markets, the agency said in 2015.

The action was taken as result of deficient policies and procedures related to FX in which the organizations engaged in unsafe and unsound conduct by failing to detect and address improper actions by their traders, the Fed said. The actions included the disclosure in electronic chatrooms of confidential customer information to traders at other organizations. According to the Fed, BofA failed to detect and address conduct by traders who discussed the possibility of entering into similar agreements to manipulate prices. The other five banks failed to detect and address illegal agreements among traders to manipulate benchmark currency prices, the Fed said.

BofA and the other five banking organizations were required to improve their senior management oversight, internal controls, risk management, and internal audit policies and procedures for their FX activities and for similar kinds of trading activities. All six organizations were required to cooperate in the Fed’s investigation of the individuals involved in the conduct underlying the enforcement actions and were prohibited from re-employing or otherwise engaging individuals who were involved in unsafe and unsound conduct.

BofA was the only organization out of the six that was not part of criminal actions taken by the Department of Justice related to misconduct in the FX markets, the Fed said.

Federal Reserve Board announces termination of enforcement action with Bank of America