TD Bank and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) have reached settlements with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) involving allegations that the banks’ foreign exchange traders improperly shared confidential client information in online chatrooms.
The OSC said Monday that it will hold hearings on Aug. 30 at its offices in Toronto to consider settlements with both TD Bank and RBC. The details of the settlements, and any penalties, will only be disclosed if the settlements are approved at those hearings.
According to the allegations published Monday by the OSC, the settlements aim to resolve charges that the banks’ FX traders improperly shared confidential client information with traders at other firms in electronic chatrooms, and that the banks didn’t have adequate compliance systems in place to prevent the activity.
In both sets of allegations, the regulator says the banks’ FX traders shared client information on “a regular basis.”
It reports that OSC staff identified “many hundreds of prohibited disclosures” between 2011 and 2013. The disclosures continued even after the banks took steps to ban multi-dealer chatrooms.
“The disclosures included detailed information about the customer orders such as trade sizes, timing, price, or stop-loss levels,” it says.
The allegations also detail weaknesses in the banks’ compliance systems, and allege that there was a lack of training and guidance for traders on the sorts of information that could be shared with traders at other firms, such as “market colour,” versus the type of specific client information that can’t be shared.
“Failures of this nature put customers at risk of harm and undermine market integrity. [The banks’] failures in this regard were contrary to the public interest,” the allegations say.
The OSC also notes that there’s no evidence the banks attempted to manipulate financial benchmark rates.