After a global scandal that cost them $14bn in fines and settlements, banks are taking no chances - they're even cracking down on currency traders for offences as minor as uttering the f-word on the phone. The pendulum has swung away from the relatively permissive environment of earlier this decade, when traders allegedly manipulated prices, front-ran clients and abandoned unprofitable trades - actions that put their interests before those of customers. Traders today are subject to 24-hour Big Brother-style surveillance that goes beyond the scrutiny of equity and bond desks. It uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to lurk in chatrooms, listen in on phone conversations and flag anything that might carry the whiff of criminal or abusive practices. The clampdown was described by more than a dozen industry participants who requested anonymity because they weren't authorised to speak publicly. "It has been a nightmare," said Thomas Wind, head of foreign exchange and trading ...

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