The number of fines issued to senior bankers by the financial regulator has dropped 40% since 2010.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued 18 fines to finance professionals categorised as performing a so-called significant influence function in 2013, marking a drop from the 30 fines handed out in 2010, law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) said in a report.
Around 55,000 people are considered to be performing significant roles in the UK, a classification that includes chairmen, non-executive directors, chief executive officers, and chief risk officers, London-based RPC said.
"Individuals have got so much more to lose and so they are much more willing to fight allegations of wrongdoing tooth and nail," Richard Burger, a partner at RPC told Bloomberg.
"Not only are there substantial fines at stake, their reputation and career are on the line," Burger added.
Individuals fined this year by the FCA include Mark Stevenson, a former Credit Suisse bond trader, who was fined £662,700 for deliberately manipulating a UK government bond (gilt) on 10 October 2011.
The FCA banned Stevenson from the industry.
The regulator said in a statement that the bond trader intended to sell his holding, worth £1.2bn (€1.4, $2bn), to the Bank of England (BoE) for an artificially high price during quantitative easing (QE) operations that day.
His unusual trading was reported within 40 minutes and the bank decided not to buy the gilt as part of QE, said the FCA.
The FCA took over market regulation from the now dead Financial Services Authority (FSA) a year ago.
The FSA in 2012 imposed a fine of £29.7m on UBS for its failure to stop unauthorised trading by banker Kweku Adoboli, who caused the bank to lose more than $2bn.
The fine was for "systems and controls failings" that indicated "serious weaknesses in the firm's procedures, management systems and internal controls," the old market regulator said in a statement.
Fines to firms jumped in the last days of the old watchdog, hitting £313.4m at the end of 2012 compared with £66.1m pounds in 2011.