State Street to Pay $382 Million on Hidden Currency Markups

  • Company misled clients that it guaranteed the best FX rates
  • Custody bank admitted to some of SEC’s claims in settling case

State Street Corp. agreed to pay $382.4 million to settle U.S. authorities’ allegations that it applied hidden markups to clients’ currency trades.

State Street made “substantial” revenues by telling customers it guaranteed the most competitive rates on FX trades, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement Tuesday. State Street made no effort to obtain the best price and instead applied a “predetermined, uniform mark-up” to the transactions, according to another statement from the Justice Department.

The company will pay $167.4 million in disgorgement and fines to the SEC, a $155 million penalty to the Justice Department and $60 million to resolve allegations by the Labor Department.

State Street admitted to some of the SEC’s claims in settling the case.

“Matters of this nature can drain both time and resources; so where possible and appropriate we feel it is in State Street’s and our clients’ best interests to pursue settlements,” said Mike Rogers, the bank’s president and chief operating officer.

“State Street misled custody clients about how it priced their trades and tucked its hidden markups into a corner where they were unlikely to notice,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “Financial institutions cannot mislead their customers about their trading costs.”

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