Barclays fined £780K by UK financial watchdog

Barclays Bank has been fined £783,800 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for “oversight failings” in its relationship with collapsed payments business Premier FX.

In February last year the UK regulator publicly censured the firm for failing to protect its customers' money and "seriously misleading" its customers about the services it was authorised to provide.

The FCA said that Barclays, which was the sole UK bank for the collapsed company, failed to make enquiries to ensure that Premier FX’s actual business activity aligned with its expectations and “did not identify that Premier FX’s internal controls were deficient”.

The penalty takes into account that Barclays has agreed voluntarily to cover the losses of Premier FX customers whose claims have been accepted by Premier FX’s liquidators.

"Premier FX, which handled money on behalf of other people, presented particularly high risks of financial crime and fraud," said Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight. "Barclays was aware of these high risks in providing banking services to Premier FX but failed to take reasonably appropriate steps to mitigate those risks.

"Barclays’ agreement to meet the deficiency in Premier FX’s funds mitigates the actual losses to Premier FX’s customers. This is a significant step to the credit of the bank and has reduced substantially the sanction that otherwise would have been imposed."

Following the distribution by the liquidator amounting to 9p for every £1 lost, Barclays' voluntary payment of £10,076,943.75 will make up the difference, meaning all 167 customers of Premier FX with accepted claims will have 100 per cent of their money returned.

The voluntary payment will be distributed to these customers by the liquidators by the end of March 2022.

A Barclays spokesperson said: “Barclays has reached a resolution with the FCA following an investigation into its oversight and monitoring of a former customer, Premier FX Limited. As part of this resolution, Barclays has agreed to pay a penalty of £783,800 and make an ex gratia payment to be distributed amongst Premier FX’s customers . Barclays fully co-operated with the FCA’s investigation.”

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