Monday, December 15, 2014

Barclays 'may have automated currency rigging'

New York's financial regulator investigates possibility of systemic foreign exchange manipulation at Barclays and Deutsche Bank 

A sign is seen above a branch of Barclays bank in Lowestoft, UK
Barclays has set aside £500m for currency rigging fines to date Photo: Bloomberg News
Barclays and Deutsche Bank may have programmed automated trading platforms to systematically rig the currency markets, a US regulator has alleged.
New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), led by Benjamin Lawsky, has uncovered evidence suggesting the banks may have developed algorithms to manipulate foreign exchange markets, according to multiple reports.
The allegations are especially serious because Barclays and Deutsche Bank, among other banks, are being investigated by the DFS over the foreign exchange market.
Using algorithms in trading systems is common practice at banks, but employing them as part of an effort to profit from manipulating forex rates could suggest the problem was more widespread than a select few traders.
Neither Barclays nor Deutsche Bank were among the six banks that far paid £2.7bn to settle claims with UK, US and Swiss regulators last month.
Barclays had been widely expected to settle, but pulled out at the eleventh hour after saying it wanted to pay fines to other authorities at the same time.
The DFS is believed to have raised concerns that the fines levied by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, among others, were insubstantial. The regulator already has an internal monitor at Barclays as part of its investigation into the foreign exchange market.
Any evidence of wide-ranging currency rigging could well mean higher fines for the banks involved.
Further penalties related to foreign exchange manipulation, from the DFS as well as the US Department of Justice, are expected to be higher than the ones imposed in November.
Barclays and the DFS did not comment, while Deutsche Bank said it was co-operating with foreign exchange investigations.


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