RBS Libor fines set to be drawn out painfully

Tim Wallace
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RBS now expects to take multiple blows from regulators in the coming months as their Libor fines are likely to be split over several days, rather than concentrated in one announcement, as with Barclays.

Chief executive Stephen Hester wants the settlement to be agreed before February, to clear the cloud above the majority state-owned bank over the rate-rigging scandal.

The bank has already suspended or fired traders in regions including Singapore, where unfair dismissal hearings have revealed details of staff conversations relating to Libor submissions. Yesterday the Sunday Telegraph reported the bank expects to pay separate fines to the Financial Services Authority in the UK and US regulators.

Barclays was fined £290m in June. The majority of the bill was imposed by US regulators, with the FSA making up a relatively small share of the sanction – just £60m.

It was reported that some FSA regulators fear the authority looked weak in comparison, and so wants to impose its sanctions separately.

RBS and the FSA both declined to comment. It is thought that many other large banks will follow Barclays and RBS in paying fines over the Libor scandal, as rate manipulation is believed to have been widespread. The British Bankers’ Association, which compiled and sold the Libor data, has already agreed to hand control of the key rate to a regulated body which is expected to use real trading data, rather than estimates, in future.