EU fines Barclays, RBS, HSBC, Credit Suisse €344m for forex cartel

Regulator says cartel focused on foreign exchange spot trading of G10 currencies

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

 

EU antitrust regulators on Thursday fined Barclays, RBS, HSBC and Credit Suisse a total of €344 million for rigging the foreign exchange spot trading market.

UBS avoided a €94 million fine as it had alerted the European Commission of the cartel. The EU competition regulator said the cartel had focused on forex spot trading of G10 currencies.

HSBC’s fine was the largest at €174.3 million, followed by Credit Suisse at €83.3 million, Barclays at €54.3 million and RBS at €32.5 million.

Barclays, HSBC and RBS admitted wrongdoing in return for a cut in the penalty. RBS is now known as NatWest following a rebranding last year.

The fines are the latest to hit banks, which have received billions of euro in penalties worldwide over more than a decade for the rigging of benchmarks used in many day-to-day financial transactions.

“Today we complete our sixth cartel investigation in the financial sector since 2013 and conclude the third leg of our investigation into the foreign exchange spot trading market,” EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.