Libor Oversight Will Be Taken From The BBA And Handed To The FSA; Criminal Penalties Will Be Imposed

Tuesday, October 02, 2012 07:28
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Libor Oversight Will Be Taken From The BBA And Handed To The FSA; Criminal Penalties Will Be Imposed

Tags: interest rates | regulation | world economy

Libor has a new regulator, the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA). Over 100 rates tied to currencies and maturities that do not have enough trading data for properly setting rates will be eliminated. A code of conduct for setting the Libor rate will also be introduced. It will be backed by criminal penalties.

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Lax regulation and also lack of a comprehensive mechanism for enforcement has led to manipulation of the system. The FSA is calling for greater power to police bankers who contribute to the rate.
 
The thought of doing away with the Libor rate completely was rejected since so many global entities have existing contracts with borrowers that would be disrupted.
 
To set Libor, Thomson Reuters currently conducts a poll each day on behalf of the British Bankers’ Association (BBA). The BBA is a banking industry lobby group that asks banks to estimate how much it costs them to borrow funds for different periods and in different
currencies.
 
From that report, the top and bottom quartiles of quotes are scrapped. The middle ones are averaged and published in London for individual currencies.
 
Currently, there are 150 rates reported. The FSA says that should be cut to 20 and grounded in actual trading data.
 
Developing the code of conduct is the first priority. An independent committee will take responsibility for the tender process and bidding should take about three months.
 
Libor is such an intrinsic part of the global financial system that restoring trust is a mandate.
 
Other benchmarks are likely to come under the same scrutiny soon as the European Union looks at benchmarks used for commodities and other asset classes.

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