The FCA is flexing its muscles: Barclays has been fined £26m for gold price fixing

Antony Jenkins won't be able to make Barclays look better-behaved if the hard-hitting FCA keeps discovering rogue traders.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 11 Aug 2015

Banks just can’t seem to shake their badly-behaving past, especially now the Financial Conduct Authority is determined to make an example of those with skeletons still in their closets.

Barclays is the latest bank to feel the heat after one of its traders fiddled the price of gold (once a respected benchmark like Libor) to avoid paying out $1.8m (£1.1m) to a customer. The FCA fined the company £26m, embarrassingly, just one day after it paid the £290m fine it was slapped with back in June 2012 for Libor and Euribor rigging.

‘A firm’s lack of controls and a trader's disregard for a customer's interests have allowed the financial services industry’s reputation to be sullied again,’ said Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of enforcement.

‘Traders who might be tempted to exploit their clients for a quick buck should be in no doubt - such behaviour will cost you your reputation and your livelihood.’

The dastardly trader in question, Daniel James Plunkett, was personally fined £95,600 and banned from the financial industry. His fixing was discovered when the client complained. Barclays then reported the incident to the FCA, which lowered the fine by 30% in recognition of the bank’s cooperation.

Not only does this look bad for Barclays chief exec Antony Jenkins, who did his best to sound suitably remorseful (‘we very much regret the situation that led to this settlement’), but also for London as a global financial centre. If benchmarks aren’t safe, people will take their money elsewhere.

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