Former Merrill trader gets five-year ban for mismarking positions
A former senior trader at Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit in London was banned for at least five years from holding a similar position in Britain after he mismarked positions to cover up losses at the company's Dublin office.
Alexis Stenfors, Merrill's former head of Scandinavian currency swaps, was banned by the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) for mismarking positions by around $100m (e72.6m) between January and February 2009. Merrill later took a $456m mark down as a result of the action, the FSA said. The Irish financial regulator also fined Merrill €2.75m in October over the incident because it didn't properly supervise traders.
Though Mr Stenfors worked in London, he was trading for a branch of an Irish Merrill subsidiary, which meant that the UK watchdog had no power to discipline the group.
Mr Stenfors blamed the mismarking on mental exhaustion after handling an "enormous workload" through the financial crisis, the FSA said. The regulator said this was insufficient mitigation.
Mr Stenfors escaped a fine from the FSA and co-operated with its inquiry, according to the regulator. He said the episode made him re-evaluate his priorities and he was now studying for a doctorate in economics.
"We have banned Stenfors because his misconduct was deliberate, frequent and repeated over a one-month period," said Margaret Cole, the FSA's enforcement director.
"He was a senior and experienced trader who held a position of trust at the firm. He betrayed the trust placed in him and demonstrated that he is not fit and proper to be approved by the FSA."