Canada Regulator Fines RBC and TD Bank $24M in FX Rig Cases

FX traders at both banks shared trade sizes, timing, price, stop-loss levels in chatrooms

TD Bank and Royal Bank of Canada were hit Friday with a combined C$24.5 million ($18.4 million) in fines for attempting to rig foreign exchange markets.

RBC will pay $14.35 million to the Ontario Securities Commission, and TD Bank $10 million. The fines include $1.6 million to cover the investigation’s costs, according to statements from the securities regulator today.

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“TD takes its obligations to have sufficient controls in its business very seriously. It’s integral to its culture of serving customers efficiently. Bottom line is that TD’s controls on FX trading is quite different today than it was 6-8 years ago,” a TD representative told the hearing.

Canada’s two largest banks were accused that their currency traders colluded with counterparts at other firms to gain a potential advantage in FX transactions between 2011 and 2013. They were among over 30 global banks that paid more than $10 billion to financial regulators ranging from the U.S. to Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

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The OSC said TD Bank and Royal Bank of Canada had insufficient oversight and controls over its FX traders, who allegedly discussed trading positions with competitors, using electronic chatrooms.

Banks traders shared confidential information

In one example cited by OSC, operators of Fx trading platforms at both banks shared trade sizes, timing, price, stop-loss levels in chatrooms to gain a potential advantage in the market over traders at other firms who did not have access to this information.

Elsewhere, traders in the banks used a tactic called ‘building ammo,’ where they improperly shared customer information on trading to ensure that they were not taking positions that would hurt one another.

The indictments against the two lenders came after Canada’s authorities faced criticism for not prosecuting any traders involved in the FX rigging scandal since it broke out in 2013, although other regulators impose multi-billion dollar fines against major banks.

“We are pleased to resolve this matter in cooperation with the OSC. The conduct covered by the allegations occurred many years ago, and we have taken a number of steps since that time to enhance our controls,” RBC said in a statement ahead of Friday’s hearing.

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