The U.K. Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) announced Monday a record fine of £46.55 million (U.S. $61.5 million) against Standard Chartered Bank for repeatedly misreporting a key metric to determine liquidity risk.
Standard Chartered was also cited for not notifying the PRA of its reporting issues in a prompt manner. The fine is the largest ever the regulator has handed down in an enforcement case.
In October 2017, the PRA imposed a temporary additional liquidity expectation on Standard Chartered in response to concerns about the heightened risk of U.S. dollar liquidity outflows. While its overall liquidity position remained in surplus as required, the bank made a series of errors in its reporting, which meant the PRA did not have a reliable overview of its U.S. dollar liquidity position between March 2018 and May 2019.
In one case, Standard Chartered only notified the PRA of a misreporting error after a four-month internal investigation into the issue. The delay led to the regulator’s decision to determine the bank “failed to be open and cooperative.”
The PRA’s investigation found Standard Chartered failed to ensure its framework for escalating liquidity miscalculations and misreporting was properly embedded within the relevant business area. In fact, the bank did not even have a documented policy setting out when the PRA should be notified about potential liquidity errors.
The regulator also found Standard Chartered did not maintain and operate adequate controls testing and checks for reporting the risks of U.S. dollar liquidity outflows, nor did it ensure it had the appropriate human resources to investigate potential misreporting.
“We expect firms to notify us promptly of any material issues with their regulatory reporting, which Standard Chartered failed to do in this case,” said PRA CEO and Deputy Governor for Prudential Regulation Sam Woods in a statement. “Standard Chartered’s systems, controls, and oversight fell significantly below the standards we expect of a systemically important bank, and this is reflected in the size of the fine in this case.”
Standard Chartered was found to have breached PRA Fundamental Rule 6 requiring a firm organize and control its affairs responsibly and effectively. Also breached was Fundamental Rule 7 requiring a firm be open and cooperative with the regulator.
Standard Chartered agreed to resolve the matter and qualified for a 30 percent reduction on the PRA’s originally proposed fine of £66.5 million (U.S. $87.9 million).
In a statement, Standard Chartered said it “has cooperated proactively and fully with the PRA’s investigation, made significant improvements to and substantial investment in its liquidity and regulatory reporting processes and controls, and remains committed to accurate regulatory reporting.”
The bank said it accepted the PRA’s findings but added it self-corrected the liquidity reporting errors in 2018 and 2019 and that they “did not affect Standard Chartered’s overall liquidity position, which remained in surplus throughout the period.”