SPANISH banking giant Santander has been fined €14.9 million by a British financial watchdog, in one of the biggest ever retail banking penalties.
The Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) said it had fined Santander, the Eurozone´s biggest lender, for ‘widespread investment advice failings’.
Tracey McDermott, the director of enforcement and financial crime at the FCA, said Santander had ‘let its customers down badly’.
“Customers trusted Santander to help them manage their money wisely, but it failed to live up to that responsibility,” she added.
“If trust in financial services is going to be restored, which it must be, then customers need to be confident that those advising them understand, and are driven by, what they need.”
Steve Pateman, head of banking at Santander UK, said the bank regretting that ‘investment sales processes did not meet the required regulatory standands’.
The watchdog reduced the fine by 30% because Santander agreed to settle at an early stage in the proceedings.
The bank’s bad advice was first brought to light in 2012, by a mystery shopping exercise that recorded serious failings in the way Santander was advising its customers.
The most recent follows a previous €16.9 million fine that Santander received last month from the National Securities Commission (CNMV), for infractions committed in the sale of securities in 2007.