The FCA has fined Merrill Lynch International £13.3m for transaction reporting failures.
The regulator says MLI incorrectly reported over 35 million transactions, and failed to report a further 121,387 transactions between November 2007 and November 2014.
The fine is the highest ever imposed by the regulator for transaction reporting failures.
The FCA says the size of the fine reflects the severity of MLI’s misconduct, its failure to adequately address the root causes over several years despite substantial FCA guidance to the industry and a poor history of transaction reporting compliance. The firm was given a private warning in 2002 and fined £150,000 in 2006.
The FCA says it has imposed a penalty of £1.50 per line of incorrect or non-reported data for the first time, rather than £1 per line as in the three most recent transaction reporting cases. It says past fines have not been high enough to achieve credible deterrence.
FCA acting director of enforcement and market oversight Georgina Philippou says: “Proper transaction reporting really matters. MLI has failed to get this right again – despite a private warning, a previous fine and extensive FCA guidance and enforcement action in this area.
“The size of the fine sends a clear message that we expect to be heard and understood across the industry.
“Accurate and timely reporting of transactions is crucial for us to perform effective surveillance for insider trading and market manipulation in support of our objective to ensure that markets work well and with integrity.”
MLI agreed to settle at an early stage of the investigation, and received a 30 per cent reduction in the fine. Without this discount the fine would have been £19m.