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Merrill Lynch fined £34.5m in UK's first EMIR penalty

[LONDON] Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch was fined £34.5 million (S$62.01 million) for failing to report two years' worth of exchange traded derivative transactions, in what UK regulators said was the first penalty under the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation(EMIR).

The Financial Conduct Authority said Merrill failed to report 68.5 million transactions between February 2014 and 2016. The bank settled the probe at an early stage and received a 30 per cent discount on the fine.

UK regulators are working to implement a raft of new regulations from around the world, including EMIR and Mifid. EMIR rules, enacted in 2012, cover market infrastructure in Europe.

"It is vital that reporting firms ensure their transaction reporting systems are tested as fit for purpose, adequately resourced and perform properly," said Mark Steward, the FCA's head of enforcement. "There needs to be a line in the sand. We will continue to take appropriate action against any firm that fails to meet requirements." The bank said it is committed to complying with all applicable regulatory requirements.

"When we discovered that certain trades had not been fully reported to a trade repository, as required following the introduction of EMIR, we immediately reported the matter to the FCA," Merrill said in a statement. "We have re-evaluated and improved our related processes and can confirm that no clients were financially impacted as a result."

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