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The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that global investment bank and brokerage firm Jefferies has agreed to pay US$25 million to settle charges that it "fail[ed] to supervise employees on its mortgage-backed securities desk who were [misleading] customers about pricing".

Published in Consumer Protection

Asahi Holdings (Australia) (Asahi) is expected to accept a A$200 million settlement of its A$500 million claim against Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) and Unitas Capital (Unitas). Asahi reportedly alleges that PEP and Unitas provided it with inflated sales figures of Independent Liquor (NZ) (Independent Liquor), which Asahi acquired from a joint venture company formed by PEP, Unitas and others in 2011 (further information).

Published in Financial Integrity

The Council of the European Union (EU) has announced that the Committee of Permanent Representatives has endorsed an agreement between the Hellenic Presidency of the Council and European Parliament representatives on a draft directive for the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large public interest entities in the EU with over 500 employees. The draft directive would require such companies to disclose, annually, a statement of policies, outcomes and risks relating to environmental, social and employee-related matters including a description of its diversity policy, respect for human rights, anti-corruption and bribery matters. Where the company has not pursued such policies, it must explain why.

Oxfam International (Oxfam) has released its Company Scorecard, which provides Oxfam's first annual assessment of the social and environmental policies of the ten biggest food and beverage companies worldwide since February 2013. According to Oxfam, nine of the ten companies improved their scores with the top three performers being Nestle, Unilever and Coca-Cola, all of which had policies addressing "issues like hunger, poverty, women's rights, land grabs and climate change in their supply chains". General Mills made no improvements in its policies and was ranked last, while Associated British Foods (ABF), Kellogg, Danone, Mars, Mondelez and PepsiCo were all marked as slow improvers in 2013.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS) has decided not to proceed with a plan to delay the payment of UK bonuses, which had intended to take advantage of a cut in the top rate of income tax and thereby potentially save bankers tens of millions of pounds in tax. Despite being legal, the plan was met with much public criticism, including from Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King, UK Treasury minister responsible for the City of London Sajid Javid and British Bankers' Association chief executive Anthony Browne.

The United States (US) Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has released its Opinion (3 March 2014) in In Re: Deepwater Horizon. According to BP plc (BP), the Court has decided to deny BP's request for a permanent injunction preventing payments to business economic loss (BEL) claimants whose alleged injuries are not traceable to the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill. BP argued that such claimants are not proper class members under the terms of the Economic and Property Damages Settlement (the Settlement) reached in 2012; however, Reuters reports that the Court rejected BP's argument that this interpretation of the Settlement would allow businesses to recover for fictitious losses.

The United States (US) Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) as conservator of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) has made available Settlement Agreement (24 February 2014 - available via the media release below) reached with France-based bank Société Générale (SG) and associated individuals and entities over alleged breaches of federal and state securities laws.

Published in Financial Integrity

Syncora Holdings Ltd (Syncora) has made available Annual Statement 2013 (February 2014) for its financial guarantee insurance subsidiary Syncora Guarantee Inc (SGI), which states that SGI has received US$400 million from JPMorgan to settle SGI's residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS)-related claims against JPMorgan and its affiliates.

Published in Financial Integrity

Former CEO Banned for Issuing False Documents

06 Mar 2014
Written by World Watch

The United Kingdom (UK) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned (24 February 2014) Arnold Eber from the financial services industry after finding that his conduct as chief executive officer of since-dissolved CIB Partners Ltd included the various failures.

The United Kingdom (UK) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined (24 February 2014) Forex Capital Markets Ltd (FXCM Ltd) and FXCM Securities Ltd (FXCM Securities) (jointly, FXCM UK) a total of £4 million for breaching the following Principles in the FCA's Principles for Business (February 2014):

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