Belfast Telegraph

Former RBS man fined and banned by watchdog

The FCA found that Neil Danziger knowingly failed to observe proper standards of market conduct.

The City watchdog has slapped a former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) trader with a £250,000 fine and banned him from regulated financial activity.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that Neil Danziger, an ex-interest rate derivatives trader at the state-owned bank, knowingly failed to observe proper standards of market conduct.

In a damning report, the watchdog determined that he is “not a fit and proper person because he acted recklessly and lacks integrity”.

Mr Danziger’s work at RBS was related to Japanese Yen Libor, and on occasion he made submissions to the British Bankers Association (BBA) when the lender’s primary submitters were not available.

The FCA found that between February 2007 and November 2010, Mr Danziger “routinely” made requests to RBS’s primary submitters, intending to benefit the trading positions for which he and other derivatives traders were responsible.

He then took those trading positions into account when acting as a substitute submitter and on two occasions, obtained a broker’s assistance to attempt to manipulate the Libor submissions of other banks, the FCA said.

In addition, between September 2008 and August 2009, Mr Danziger entered into 28 wash trades – risk-free trades, with the same party, in pairs that cancelled each other out and for which there was “no legitimate commercial rationale”.

The FCA said that the purpose of the wash trades was to “make or facilitate brokerage payments to two firms of brokers in recognition of his receipt of personal hospitality”.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “Proper standards of market conduct reflect the interests of the whole community in the well-being of our financial markets.

“Mr Danziger’s reckless disregard of these standards has no place in the financial services industry.

“Market participants cannot turn a blind eye to what the community, through its laws and regulations, expects, nor apply their own, lower standards. This substantial fine and ban should reinforce that message.”

The watchdog added that Mr Danziger acted recklessly and with a lack of integrity in “deliberately closing his mind to the risk that his actions were improper”.

Mr Danziger’s lawyer, Ben Rose, of the law firm Hickman & Rose, said: “Mr Danziger continues to dispute the FCA’s findings and feels strongly that he is being scapegoated for the systemic problems relating to Libor.

“However, the last five years have been incredibly challenging.

“He is emotionally exhausted and financially drained.

“He leaves it to others, better resourced, to press the FCA for answers, hopeful that, one day, the real truth will come out.”

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.