BNP Paribas is said to have re­viewed EuroMil­lions trade boast

Gulf Times Business - - BUSINESS -

For the cou­ple in North­ern Ire­land who won the EuroMil­lions lot­tery on New Year’s Day, the for­eign ex­change rate might have seemed like a round­ing er­ror on their €130mn ($150mn) prize.

But at BNP Paribas SA, the bank that was hired to con­vert the jack­pot into ster­ling for the UK ticket hold­ers, the straight­for­ward cur­rency trans­la­tion has at­tracted an un­usual amount of at­ten­tion as banks seek to com­bat the per­cep­tion that they earn un­fairly high fees.

The lender has re­viewed whether a sales­per­son made in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments about the fees it earned from work­ing on the trans­ac­tion, said peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

BNP Paribas earned about £1mn from the EuroMil­lions trans­ac­tion, the peo­ple said, de­clin­ing to be iden­ti­fied as the de­tails are pri­vate.

It ex­am­ined elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tion on whether the em­ployee bragged to oth­ers about how much it made on the deal, the per­son said, adding the fee is un­usu­ally high.

The bank found no wrong­do­ing, one of the peo­ple said.

A spokesman for BNP Paribas de­clined to com­ment. A se­ries of scan­dals has prompted the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try to clamp down on any be­hav­iour that could be seen as in­ap­pro­pri­ate – no mat­ter how seem­ingly mi­nor.

At the other end of the spec­trum, the past few years have brought multi-bil­lion dol­lar fines for firms in­volved in ma­nip­u­lat­ing in­ter­est-rate bench­marks and fail­ure to com­ply with sanc­tions. Some bankers say they avoid meet­ing so­cially to pre­vent the ap­pear­ance of col­lu­sion. Many say in­ap­pro­pri­ate jokes, es­pe­cially those that could put firms at risk of reg­u­la­tory scru­tiny, are frowned upon.

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