The Financial Services Authority said Thursday it fined Goldman Sachs $31 million for failing to notify the U.K. regulator that trader Fabrice Tourre was being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC accused Tourre in an April lawsuit of fraud in relation to the marketing of a synthetic collateralized debt obligation known as Abacus 2007-AC1. Goldman has agreed to pay $500 million to settle SEC civil charges, but Tourre is fighting the allegations.
Although the Abacus product was marketed to institutional investors, in part, by Goldman’s U.K. arm, there is nothing in the FSA’s statement to indicate that it investigated the marketing of the CDO.
Instead, the FSA found that Goldman “did not have effective systems and controls in place to ensure that relevant information about the SEC investigation was shared” with its U.K. compliance department, which would have known to notify the FSA that Tourre was being investigated. As a consequence, “Mr. Tourre remained approved in the U.K. and able to perform a controlled function for several months without further enquiry or challenge from the FSA.”
The FSA said the SEC began making inquiries of Goldman regarding Abacus in April 2008, and Tourre received a Wells Notice from the SEC in September 2008; yet Goldman ’s U.K. compliance department only became aware of the SEC investigation on April 16, 2010, when the U.S. agency announced that it had commenced enforcement proceedings in the U.S. courts against Goldman and Tourre.
Since Goldman did not deliberately withhold any information from the FSA and cooperated fully and agreed to settle at an early stage, it qualified for a 30% discount on its fine.