"This year, financial institutions have again been reminded that the FCA will not hesitate to impose sizeable fines – sometimes in the hundreds of millions – for serious failings."
The increase in fines in 2021 was dominated by four blockbuster fines each worth well over £50m. Last year saw just one fine issued over £50m.
The largest fine of £265m was imposed on a high-street bank for failing to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) measures. Another bank also received a £64m fine for AML failures.
An international investment bank was fined nearly £150m for failures in its anti-bribery controls and another commercial bank was fined £90m for treating consumers unfairly in the renewal of their home insurance.
Jonathan Cary, partner at RPC, said: “This year, financial institutions have again been reminded that the FCA will not hesitate to impose sizeable fines – sometimes in the hundreds of millions – for serious failings.
“While the increase in the value of fines is striking, that alone, does not capture the complete picture of the FCA's enforcement activity over the last 12 months. The FCA has a range of other tools it is increasingly prepared to use beyond imposing a major fine. Having permissions withdrawn or varied can be even more serious for a regulated firm.
“While resource does remain an issue, having managed to clear some large cases and with the efforts to rationalise its caseload, the FCA will be looking to ramp up its enforcement activity in the year ahead.”