Swiss Authority Fines Banks Over FX Manipulation

The Swiss competition authority, the Competition Commission, has become the latest jurisdiction to levy fines on six banks related to their dealers’ activity in several chat rooms.

COMCO says it has detected several anti-competitive arrangements between banks in foreign exchange spot trading and concluded “amicable” settlements and imposed fines of around CHF 90 million. Therefore, the two investigations will now be closed.

The six banks were Barclays, Citi, JP Morgan, MUFG, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS, although as was the case with the fines handed down by the European Union last month, UBS has had its fine wiped out as it was the institution that revealed the activity to regulators.

The charges against the banks are familiar to FX market participants and relate to activity pre-2013 which has also attracted fines from several other jurisdictions. No new allegations were raised in the Swiss charges.

The banks have committed not to support such conduct in the future and were fined as follows: CHF 27 million for Barclays, CHF 28,5 million for Citigroup, CHF 9,5 million for JPMorgan, CHF 1,5 million for MUFG Bank and CHF 22,5 million for RBS.

As is the case in the EU, an investigation is to be continued against Credit Suisse as the bank has declined to settle any charges globally relating to allegations of FX trader chat room activity – COMCO also says it has closed its investigation against Bank Julius Bär and Zürcher Kantonalbank.

Colin Lambert

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