Magic circle advises banks on FCA’s bumper forex fines

The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) mammoth investigation into traders’ attempts to fix the foreign exchange (forex) market came to a head yesterday.

The banks have been clashing with regulators in a big way this week and they’ve been keeping the magic circle on their toes too.

Clifford Chance was once again drafted in by longstanding clients Barclays. The instruction is the second time this year the magic circle firm has acted for Barclays on major investigation-related matters, following its defence of Libor-related allegations in the David and Goliath Guardian Care Homes battle.

Barclays has not yet settled, unlike Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer client JP Morgan, Linklaters client RBS and four other major banks hit with a total of £2.6bn in penalties.

Travers Smith was also taken on in March to investigate forex-related claims levelled at the Bank of England, accused of knowing about the manipulation. A report produced by Travers and One Essex Court’s Tony Grabiner QC yesterday cleared the BoE of bad behaviour.

The settlement with the banks follows the launch of a Competition and Markets Authority probe into the retail banking industry earlier this week. Clifford Chance, Freshfields and Linklaters also have roles on that investigation, with Ashurst also involved.

The banks might be in hot water, but for law firms that means plenty of work.

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