Hong Kong regulator SFC slaps HK$4m fine on BNP Paribas for overcharging 2,300 clients

Fine lower than normal as the bank refunded the HK$9.5 million overcharged to clients

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 11:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 September, 2016, 11:50am

The Securities and Futures Commission has reprimanded BNP Paribas Wealth Management for overcharging clients and fined it HK$4 million, equal to about half of the amount it allegedly overcharged 2,300 clients in 2011 and 2013.

In deciding the penalty, the SFC said the fine would have been higher but it was set at the current level because the company has repaid all overcharged amounts from current clients and is in the process of repaying those clients who have since closed their accounts.

The SFC’s investigation found that BNP Paribas Wealth Management overcharged clients by a total of about HK$9.5 million through various methods including different charges, mark-ups and fees on the transactions of 2,300 clients, with the charges higher than what the firm had indicated in its documentation provided to the clients.

“The affected transactions covered different types of investment products, including equities, bonds, structured products, options, swaps and funds,” the SFC said in a statement.

“BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s conduct was in breach of the Code of Conduct by failing to exercise due skill, care and diligence to ensure the monetary benefits it received from client transactions were fair and reasonable, and in accordance with its representations to the clients,” the SFC said.

The SFC said that in setting a lower penalty it took into account the fact that BNP Paribas Wealth Management self-reported the matter to the SFC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

Affected clients can contact BNP Paribas in relation to repayment of the overcharged amounts at (+852) 2825-1116 or (+852) 2909-8811.