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Goldman Sachs to pay $109.5m in fines for improper foreign exchange trades

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Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay about $110m in fines to settle allegations of unsafe and unsound conduct in its foreign exchange trading business.

The company will pay roughly $55m each to New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Federal Reserve Board.

DFS said Goldman traders improperly shared customer data with traders from other global banks and engaged in questionable conduct to improperly affect foreign exchange prices.

The regulator’s investigation also found that Goldman failed to implement effective controls over its foreign exchange business.

The probe found that Goldman foreign exchange traders participated in multi-party electronic chat rooms from 2008 to early 2013,

Traders, sometimes using code names to discreetly share confidential customer data, discussed potentially coordinating trading activity and other efforts that may improperly affect currency prices or disadvantage customers, DFS said.

Concerns were raised by a senior member of Goldman Sachs’ global foreign exchange sales division on the sharing of customer information. However, there is no proof that the supervisor took steps to escalate to Goldman Sachs’ compliance function any of the concerns.

DFS financial services superintendent Maria Vullo said: “DFS’s investigation revealed that Certain Goldman traders exploited the company’s ineffective oversight of its foreign exchange business by improperly sharing customer information, which allowed the bank’s foreign exchange traders and others to violate New York State law over the course of several years.

“DFS recognises the steps taken by the company to ensure compliance with applicable laws, in entering into today’s consent order and to the agreed reforms.”

Goldman Sachs agreed to submit to DFS plans for improved internal controls and risk management.


Image: Goldman Sachs Headquarters, New York City. Photo: courtesy of Quantumquark.