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Two More Australian Banks Settle FX Claims ANZ and Westpac have both accepted enforceable undertakings (EU) from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) relating to control failures in their global FX businesses. In December, the other two “majors” in Australia, CBA and NAB, each paid AUD 2.5 million after accepting similar charges. Both ANZ and Westpac will both make a “community benefit payment” of AUD 3 million to support the financial capability of vulnerable people including women experiencing family violence, the elderly and youth at risk, ASIC says.
Citi’s South African FX Settlement Hearing Set A Tribunal at South Africa’s Competition Commission will officially hear details of Citi’s agreed settlement with local authorities to end charges of collusion and market manipulation on May 22. Although the bank has reached an agreement with the Commission and agreed to pay ZAR 69.5 million for its role in the alleged manipulation, local sources say the deal has to be rubber stamped by the Tribunal. Citi was the first bank of 17 charged to settle with the Commission on February 20.
JPM: 2017 to Be “Watershed” Year for FX Algo Usage A new survey released by JP Morgan, which almost 200 institutional FX traders took part in at the end of last year, shows that although just 12% of respondents currently use algorithms for trading, 38% plan to increase algo usage in 2017. This, in and of itself is not necessarily a surprising statistic. Numerous market commentators have been predicting for a few years now that more institutional FX trades will employ algorithms for a variety of reasons. These include navigating an increasingly fragmented liquidity landscape, helping firms to minimise their market impact, providing a more auditable trading record, and potentially enabling buy side firms to take on more risk themselves as some banks drift towards a more agency-focused business model.
Citi Reorganises – Creates Single FX Business Following the retirement of head of G10 FX James Bindler, Citi is reorganising its business structure by merging its G10 and emerging markets FX activities into a single global foreign exchange trading business. As previously reported by Profit & Loss, Itay Tuchman has been appointed to head the new business, reporting to Nadir Mahmud, head of FX and Local Markets. Tuchman will be relocated from Sydney, where he is currently head of the Markets and Securities Services business for Australia and New Zealand.
Fourth Trader Wins Unfair Dismissal Claim Against Citi Baris Ozkaptan has become the fourth former Citi FX trader to win a claim of unfair dismissal against the bank. Although a London employment tribunal judge Alison Russell found in Ozkaptan’s favour overall, informed sources say she did note in the judgement that Ozkaptan contributed to the dismissal, meaning the final compensation paid could be reduced. Currently the maximum amount that can be awarded is GBP 78,800, a remedial hearing will be held at a later date to finalise any compensation paid to Ozkaptan.
Citi Settles South African FX Manipulation Claim Citi has become the first bank to settle with South Africa’s Competition Commission, paying the equivalent of a just over $5 million fine related to charges it participated in a cartel that manipulated prices in the rand. The Commission found that from at least 2007, Citi and its competitors had a general agreement to collude on prices for bids, offers and bid-offer spreads for the spot trades in relation to currency trading involving USD/ZAR. The Commission last week charged 14 banks with collusion.
South Africa Sues Banks over FX Collusion South Africa’s Competition Commission says it is commencing prosecution proceedings against 14 banks over alleged collusion in ZAR markets. The Commission has been investigating the issue since April 2015 and says it has now referred the case to the country’s Tribunal for prosecution. The banks are Bank of America Merrill Lynch; BNP Paribas; JP Morgan; Investec; HSBC; Standard Chartered Bank; Credit Suisse; Standard Bank of South Africa; Commerzbank; ANZ; Nomura International; Macquarie Bank; ABSA Bank; and Barclays. In some cases the case is being brought against two entities with the same organisation, if found guilty, the banks could face fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover.
CLS Introduces Two New Membership Categories CLS Group (CLS) has introduced two new membership models, affiliated settlement and non-shareholder settlement. These two new categories will exist alongside the existing shareholder and central bank settlement membership categories. The affiliated settlement membership category allows institutions to have more than one entity within a corporate group become a settlement member. This category is aimed at institutions seeking to segregate their FX businesses to manage their own CLS participation and correspondent banking relationships. It also removes the reliance on internal clearing and intergroup limits, helps settlement members meet their regulatory ring-fencing obligations and facilitates recovery and resolution planning.
BoE’s Salmon Expects More Surprise Flash Moves in FX Chris Salmon, executive director, markets, at the Bank of England (BoE), said in a speech today that, while he has confidence in the ability of the FX market to process identifiable risks, he expects to see more surprise flash moves in this asset class. Speaking at the OMFIF City Lecture in London, Salmon looked at the depreciation of sterling following the UK Brexit referendum result and the sterling “flash crash” that took place on October 7, 2016, to provide insight into how the market is functioning.
Wells Fargo Restructures: FX Into Securities Wells Fargo is disbanding its International Group, which includes foreign exchange, and switching the components into areas of its Wholesale Banking Group. As part of the changes, the bank’s foreign exchange business will now report to Jon Weiss, head of Wells Fargo Securities. In addition, Wells Fargo’s Financial Institutions Group will be combined with the Financial Institutions business in Wells Fargo Corporate Banking to form a single Financial Institutions business. The combined business will report directly to Perry Pelos, senior executive vice president and head of Wholesale Banking.