The Securities and Exchange Commission has granted waivers to the five banks allowing them to continue to serve as investment advisers and to issue securities after settling criminal charges of manipulating foreign-exchange markets and benchmark interest rates.
Under the plea agreements announced Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department, four banks — Barclays, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Royal Bank of Scotland — will pay a combined $2.52 billion to settle charges of conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the FX spot market.
UBS, which pleaded guilty to manipulating the London interbank offered rate and other benchmark interest rates, will pay a $203 million penalty; UBS also breached a December 2012 agreement with the Justice Department resolving a LIBOR investigation. The banks will also pay $1.6 billion in fines to the Federal Reserve.
In a closed meeting Tuesday, SEC commissioners voted on the banks' applications for waivers allowing them to continue serving as investment advisers and to issue securities following the criminal convictions. Orders granting the waivers were posted on the SEC website Wednesday. Calls to Commissioner Kara Stein, a critic of the SEC waiver process, were not returned by press time.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement that the SEC “appears to have rubber-stamped waivers for these institutions, allowing them to continue doing business as if no crime was committed.” Ms. Waters said it is now up to the Department of Labor to hold the institutions accountable.
Barclays, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, RBS and UBS said in court documents they will seek waivers from the Department of Labor to continue serving as qualified professional money managers for retirement plans, following the criminal convictions.