Bank of New York Mellon has agreed to pay $714 million in a series of settlements related to charges it fraudulently overcharged clients on foreign exchange currency transactions. The settlements resolve long-running lawsuits from Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
BNY Mellon reached settlement agreements with the Department of Justice ($167.5 million), New York’s Attorney General ($167.5 million, most of which will be directed to a fund to compensate customers), Department of Labor ($14 million), and Securities and Exchange Commission (tentatively set at $30 million). Collectively, the settlements resolve all current lawsuits and enforcement matters related to FX services that were provided to custody clients prior to 2012. The settlements were submitted to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan for review and approval.
The company also agreed to pay $335 million to settle the customer class action litigation. Two New York State agencies–the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan and the State University of New York–were among the victims and will be compensated for their losses.
Included within the settlements is an agreement that the custody bank will fire employees associated with the misconduct, including David Nichols, a managing director and head of products management.
The federal lawsuit was brought under the Financial Institutional Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, which authorizes the government to recover civil penalties for fraud involving or affecting financial institutions. New York State’s lawsuit was brought pursuant to the Martin Act, which permits the state to seek damages and other relief for fraud.
The SEC’s Division of Enforcement reached a preliminary agreement with BNY Mellon on a settlement that will include an administrative order finding that, in violation of the Investment Company Act, the bank prepared and provided its registered investment company clients with trade confirmations and monthly transaction reports that were misleading. The proposed settlement is subject to finalization, review, and approval by the Commission.
A full explanation of how the bank was pricing FX transactions the can be found here.