NEW YORK: Large Wall Street firms agreed to pay $1.8 billion in fines over failures to keep electronic records such as text messages between employees on personal mobile phones, US authorities announced Tuesday.
Barclays, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs were among the firms that agreed to fines over "longstanding failures" to maintain and preserve electronic communications that must be available to regulators in the course of oversight, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a statement, reports AFP.
In a parallel action, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced it reached settlements totaling $710 million from the same group of financial institutions over the same offenses.
"Finance, ultimately, depends on trust. By failing to honor their recordkeeping and books-and-records obligations, the market participants we have charged today have failed to maintain that trust," SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement. "Since the 1930s, such recordkeeping has been vital to preserve market integrity.
"As technology changes, it's even more important that registrants appropriately conduct their communications about business matters within only official channels, and they must maintain and preserve those communications."
An SEC investigation uncovered "pervasive off-channel communications" involving a range of senior and junior investment bankers and traders -- omissions that "likely" deprived it of communications in agency probes, it said.
Bank of America was fined a total of $225 million under the two settlements.
Nomura, Jefferies and Cantor Fitzgerald will pay respectively $100, $80 and $16 million
The SEC in December 2021 fined JPMorgan Chase $125 million for the offense, spurring an industry-wide regulatory crackdown on poor recordkeeping, the SEC said.