FCA fines broker for market misconduct

The FCA has issued a £3.44m fine to FX options broker, TFS-ICAP, for communicating misleading information to clients.

Between 2008 and 2015, the regulator found that brokers at TFS-ICAP had carried out the practice of “printing” trades.

This involved brokers communicating to their clients that a trade had occurred at a particular price or quantity when no such trade had actually taken place. TFS-ICAP brokers, across multiple broking desks, did this openly and over a prolonged period, the FCA stated.

Printing trades sought to encourage clients to trade when they might not have done – in order to generate business for TFS-ICAP – and the FCA suggested the broker did not observe proper standards of market conduct.

Furthermore, the FCA found that the firm had not reacted to warning signs that printing might be taking place, or acted to address the risk.

TFS-ICAP agreed to resolve the case with the FCA and therefore qualified for a 30% discount to the overall financial penalty imposed.

FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, Mark Steward, commented: “This market should take notice that printing, or providing information to clients where the basis for the information is not true, is not in keeping with appropriate standards of market conduct.

“The market should also take notice that the opacity of such practices, while forensically challenging, is no bar to action either.”

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