UK could tie global Bank for International Settlements currency trading code into new senior managers rules

Caitlin Morrison
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The new BIS code of conduct is aimed at cleaning up the FX market (Source: Getty)

The UK could be set to add another layer of scrutiny to its senior managers regime, by adding a requirement that bankers stick to the Bank for International Settlements' (BIS) new global code of conduct for the FX market.

The first full draft of the code is expected by the market in October, with the final version due to be published next year. The BIS has already released a list of dos and don't that will be contained within the finished code, which will be aimed at stamping out the manipulation of rates by market participants, as well as putting a stop to skimming off the top and sharing confidential information.

Guy Debelle, who leads the BIS committee that has been working on the code of conduct for the past year, said that, although it's based around a general principle of voluntary adherence, the committee was also considering a system of widespread attestations, where banks and other financial firms or senior officials at particular firms would specify whether their businesses observed the code's rules.

This ties in with the UK's senior managers' regime, which makes individuals holding certain senior roles at financial services firms legally accountable for their company's actions. While the rules only apply to bankers at the moment, the government wants to extend the regime to cover senior managers in currency, commodity and bond markets too.

"The code is not regulation but we are looking at a number of mechanisms that have teeth," Debelle told Reuters at the TradeTech FX conference in London.

"One of those under consideration is a widespread system of attestations, one at an appropriately senior level; two, some kind of public display of that; and then three, some sort of collection."

And when asked whether UK regulators would therefore make managers accountable for sticking to the code under the senior managers regime, he added: "I would say that is very likely. I would see those two things as working together here. Obviously that (regime) does not exist elsewhere, but given how big a part of this market London is, that is a good thing."

While the UK claims a large portion of the global FX trading market, this share has fallen in the last three years, according to recent data from the BIS.

Debelle said UK officials would likely provide more detail on how the currency trading code would tie in with the senior managers rules over the next few weeks.

The Bank of England declined to comment.