Federal Reserve Board has announced that it will seek a $1.2 million fine and a
permanent ban on employment in the banking industry for Christopher Ashton, a
former FX trader at Barclays.
is involved in an ongoing employment tribunal in London, is alleged to have
used electronic chat rooms to coordinate FX trading, facilitate manipulation of
FX pricing benchmarks, disclose confidential customer information to traders at
other organisations and engage in what the Fed terms “other unsafe and unsound
Ashton allegedly committed these infractions while based in London, the Fed
says in its enforcement notice that there “were or were likely to be a cause of or
carried on in connection with or in furtherance of acts and practices within
the United States that would constitute an appropriate basis for enforcement
action by the Board of Governors”.
notice concludes: “After taking into account the size of
Ashton’s financial resources, his good faith, the gravity of the violations,
the history of previous violations, and such other matters as justice may
require, the Board of Governors hereby seeks to assess a civil money penalty of
$1,200,000.00 against Ashton for recklessly engaging in unsafe and unsound
practices and 21 breaches of fiduciary duty, as set forth in this Notice.”
will be allowed a formal hearing before the Board of Governors concerning this
enforcement, should he require one.
enforcement proceedings against Ashton follow the Board’s May 2015 enforcement
actions against Barclays for unsafe and unsound practices related to their
compliance and control failures concerning practices in the FX markets.
Board required Barclays to pay $342
million in penalties for control deficiencies related to FX trading.
total, Barclays has paid $2.4 billion in criminal and civil fines in connection
with the conduct outlined in the Fed’s enforcement notice and has faced
additional exposure in multiple civil litigations, including settling a classaction lawsuit in 2015 for $384 million that was based, in part, on Ashton’s alleged
class action complaint specifically named Ashton as a participant in the Cartel
chat room and excerpted several Cartel and Sterling Lads chats.