The New York Post reports that the $500m Citigroup is expected to have to pay to settle charges of biased stock research is regarded by many in the investment banking industry as 'more like a cab fare.' Citigroup profits are expected to come in at around $17bn next year.
As regulators enter the final stage of 'discussions' with investment banks about the actual penalties to be paid for their stock research practices, Citigroup's likely fine of $500m looks certain to be the largest. Having said that, it really is only chicken-feed when you consider what the business stands to make next year - even in these difficult times.
Shareholders, too, think that a $500m fine would be a steal - shares in Citigroup have risen some 63% since it was revealed that a $500m fine was likely around two months ago.
Whatever the extent of the fine, however, the affair will not end there. There are numerous investors seeking legal redress as they claim that they were defrauded or misled by Citigroup's practices. The financial giant may not get away so lightly in the courts.