The Federal Reserve Board has announced that it is seeking to permanently bar Peter Little the former head of the G10 FX spot desk at Barclays in New York, from employment in the banking industry. The central bank is also seeking to impose a $487,500 fine on Little, who joined HSBC in New York in mid-2013 as head of G10 spot FX trading.
In what may be an interesting side issue to the story, the Fed’s Notice seeking to bar Little, makes clear he was “terminated” by Barclays, raising questions over whether or not HSBC knew this.
Little, who is believed to be preparing to challenge the Fed’s finding, is alleged to have engaged in unsafe and unsound practices by using electronic chat rooms to coordinate with traders at competitor banks to influence FX benchmarks and by engaging in manipulative trading.
He is also alleged to have failed to adequately supervise subordinate traders at Barclays who coordinated with and disclosed confidential information to competitors on Little’s behalf.
Little’s case is somewhat different to those against members of the now-notorious Cartel chat room in that Little does not appear to have engaged in the chat room directly. Rather he asked his traders working for him and on the bank’s London FX desk to get information from the Cartel, specifically about orders head of the London 4pm WMR Fix.
In a side note, and reflecting the period around 2011-12 when the events were said to have taken place, the Notice observes that Little was under pressure from falling volumes across the Barclays voice FX business, identifying more volume going over the bank’s single dealer platform.
The latest enforcement proceedings follow the Fed’s barring of former Barclays FX traders Christopher Ashton and Michael Weston from employment in the banking industry, as well as the its May 2015 enforcement action against Barclays for unsafe and unsound practices in its FX market practices, which led to the bank paying a $342 million penalty.