BBA keen to maintain role in compiling Libor

THE BRITISH Bankers’ Association (BBA) said it is keen to keep a central role in compiling the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), a key financial benchmark, despite recent scandals.

The industry body also insisted that the number, which is used as a measure of interbank interest rates borrowing costs in trillions of pounds’ worth of financial products, “continues to be the authoritative benchmark of the wholesale money market”.

The compilation of Libor is currently under investigation by nine regulatory bodies in different countries over allegations that it was manipulated during the 2008 financial crisis by weak banks whose borrowing costs had risen.

The scandal has sparked calls for Libor’s key role to be scrapped or for regulatory involvement in supervising it – potentially taking it over entirely, which would be a blow for the BBA.

The data is currently compiled by the BBA and then crunched by Thomson Reuters by removal of the outliers at the bottom and top of the range.

The BBA claims that it has been notable for its “objectivity and accuracy”, but trust has been eroded as the scandal engulfs banks and hedge funds accused of trying to manipulate the data.