Barclays hit by record fine

<p>Barclays has been fined £38 million for putting clients’ assets ‘at risk’.</p>

Barclays has been handed a record fine by the City regulator after putting clients' assets "at risk".

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) imposed a £38 million fine on the bank after it found that it had failed to keep its clients' assets separate from its own. It follows Barclays receiving a £1.1 million fine for a similar issue three years ago. This latest charge represents the highest ever imposed by the FCA for breaches of this kind.

Members of the FCA stated that Barclays' Investment Banking Division had put £16.5 billion of clients' assets in danger between November 2007 and January 2012. The regulator said that it reflected "significant weaknesses" in Barclays' systems and controls due to the high number of affected accounts during this period.

However, Barclays maintains that it did not profit from the issue and that no customers lost assets as a result. The fine is specific to the bank's investment division and will not impact on its retail customers.

Tracey McDermott, FCA director of enforcement and financial crime, said: "Barclays failed to apply the lessons from our previous enforcement actions, numerous industry-wide warnings, and exposed its clients to unnecessary risk. All firms should be clear after Lehman that there is no excuse for failing to safeguard client assets."

Barclays has been the subject of a series of fines since 2011 with the bank being ordered to pay out millions in the past three years. In July 2013, four traders were alleged to have manipulated electricity prices, which resulted in a fine of $453 million (£300 million) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In May 2014, the FCA imposed a £26 million fine on Barclays after one of its traders was found to have attempted to fix the price of gold.

The FCA stated that Barclays had agreed to settle the most recent fine at an early stage, allowing it to qualify for a 30 per cent discount.

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