The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced Monday that it has fined Merrill Lynch International £34.5 million ($57 million), after finding that the firm failed to report 68.5 million exchange-traded derivative transactions between February 2014 and February 2016.
Today’s action “reflects the importance the FCA puts on this type of reporting,” the FCA says in its announcement.
This is the first enforcement action against a firm for failing to report details of trading in exchange-traded derivatives under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), the FCA says.
The reporting requirements were introduced in the wake of the financial crisis in order to improve transparency and enhance oversight of derivatives markets.
“Effective market oversight depends on accurate and timely reporting of transactions. The obligations under EMIR, as with MiFID, are key aspects of such oversight,” says Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight, FCA, in a statement. “It is vital that reporting firms ensure their transaction reporting systems are tested as fit for purpose, adequately resourced and perform properly. There needs to be a line in the sand. We will continue to take appropriate action against any firm that fails to meet requirements.”
Merrill Lynch co-operated with the investigation and quickly took steps to remediate the breach, the FCA notes. The firm also agreed to settle at an early stage of the investigation, and received a 30% reduction in its fine as a result (without the discount the fine would have been £49.3 million).