London Whale Lifts U.K. Regulator to Highest Fines in a Decade

The U.K. finance regulator recorded its largest month of fines in more than a decade in September, buoyed by a 137.6 million-pound ($221.2 million) penalty against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) over the London Whale debacle.

Industry fines totaled 169.5 million pounds last month and brought total penalties from the Financial Conduct Authority in 2013 to 339.5 million pounds, according to statistics published today by Wolters Kluwer NV (WKL), Europe’s largest tax and legal publisher. The year-to-date total is larger than any other full year since 2002.

The regulator fined JPMorgan as part of a probe into losses exceeding $6.2 billion on a derivatives position built by a trader who came to be known as the London Whale because his bets were so large. The past year has also seen the regulator punish banks embroiled in the scandal over rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor.

“The FCA is endeavoring to keep up with the international trend towards greater levels of fining and is continuing the trajectory started in the U.K. by the Financial Services Authority in its latter years,” said Barnabas Reynolds, a London lawyer at U.S. law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. The FSA became the FCA in April this year.

FCA fines increased considerably last year hitting 313.4 million pounds at the end of 2012 compared with 66.1 million pounds in 2011.

“The FCA is clear that where there is poor behavior we will act quickly with punishments we believe reflect the seriousness of what has taken place,” the FCA said in an emailed statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Suzi Ring in London at sring5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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