Five banks have been collectively fined two billion pounds by UK and US regulators for traders' attempted manipulation of foreign exchange rates, it was announced here Wednesday.
UK (Royal Bank of Scotland) and (HSBC), American (Citibank) (JP Morgan Chase) and Swiss (UBS) were handed penalties totalling a record 1.1 billion pounds by Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and 1.5 billion US dollars (927 million pounds ) by US authorities.
Separately, the Swiss regulator, FINMA, has penalised UBS 134 million Swiss francs.
The fines follow a year-long investigation by regulators into claims that the foreign exchange market - in which banks and other financial firms buy and sell currencies between one another - was being rigged.
The massive market, in which 5.3 trillion dollars worth of currencies are traded daily, dwarfs the stock and bond markets. About 40 percent of the world's dealing is estimated to go through trading rooms in London.
There is no physical forex marketplace and nearly all trading takes place on electronic systems operated by the big banks and other providers.
The FCA fined the five banks a total of 1.1bn, the largest fine imposed by it or its predecessor, the Financial Services Authority.
"At the heart of today's action is our finding that the failings at these banks undermine confidence in the UK financial system and put its integrity at risk," the FCA said.
The FCA added that the banks had not "exercised adequate and effective control" over their foreign exchange trading businesses, training was "insufficient" and that the "right values and cultures" were not sufficiently embedded in the banks' foreign exchange businesses.
It found traders at different banks had formed "tight knit groups" to share information about client activity, using code names such as "the 3 musketeers", "the A-team" and "1 team, 1 dream" to describe the clients.