The UK Financial Conduit Authority (FCA) has slapped US banking major Bank of America's Merrill Lynch International (MLI) with £13.3m (€18.5m, $19.8m) fine for failing to report financial transactions properly.
The watchdog said the bank incorrectly reported more than 35 million transactions and failed to report another 121,387 transactions over seven years.
The FCA noted that as MLI agreed to make the payment at an early stage, it would receive a 30% reduction, without which, the bank would have to shell out £19m.
This is highest fine imposed so far for transaction reporting failures, and it reflects "the severity of MLI's misconduct, failure to adequately address the root causes over several years despite substantial FCA guidance to the industry and a poor history of transaction reporting compliance," the FCA said in a statement.
The watchdog added that it had issued a private warning to the bank in 2002 and imposed a fine of £150,000 in 2006 over the same issue.
"Merrill Lynch International has failed to get this right again – despite a Private Warning, a previous fine, and extensive FCA guidance and enforcement action in this area. The size of the fine sends a clear message that we expect to be heard and understood across the industry," said Georgina Philippou, FCA acting director of enforcement and market oversight.
"Accurate and timely reporting of transactions is crucial for us to perform effective surveillance for insider trading and market manipulation in support of our objective to ensure that markets work well and with integrity."
In August 2014, the FCA fined Deutsche Bank £4.7m over similar offences, while Royal Bank of Scotland was slapped with a £5.6m fine in 2013.
Barclays, Commerzbank and Societe Generale are among other major lenders have also reportedly failed to comply with FCA rules on transaction reporting.