Bank holding company Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., has agreed to pay $54.75 million civil penalties to the U.S. government and to the state of New York to settle allegations that it engaged in unsafe and unsound practices in its foreign exchange trading business. According to the Federal Reserve Board, the company failed to detect that its traders were using electronic chatrooms to discuss trading positions with competitors and that they were disclosing customers’ confidential information. Goldman Sachs did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlements.
The New York Department of Financial Services offered more information about the allegations against Goldman Sachs. According to DFS, the company’s traders shared confidential customer information, and they discussed coordinating their trading activities and other ways to manipulate currency prices. This allowed the traders to increase their trading profits, sometimes to customers’ detriment. The consent order details portions of several of the conversations and reveals that at least 13 traders were involved.
DFS noted that Goldman Sachs had policies in place that were intended to prevent such activity. However, those policies were not adequately enforced. In fact, one individual described as "a senior member of Goldman Sachs’ Foreign Exchange Sales Division" told a supervisor about the violations, but there was no evidence the supervisor passed the information on to the company’s compliance group.
The Fed’s consent order relates to the period of 2008 to 2012, while the conduct described by the DFS order reaches into 2013. Both orders include compliance provisions, and both have bans on further employment of at least some of the traders (although none of the individuals are named).
Companies: Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
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