RBS: we did not gain from Libor fixing

Tim Wallace
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RBS did not make any money from its traders’ attempts to fix key interbank interest rates, the investment bank’s incoming boss claimed yesterday, meaning the bank took a £390m fine for wrongdoing that was not even beneficial at the time.

It came as outgoing head John Hourican, the only senior executive to leave over the scandal, apologised for failing to spot the problem sooner, and his replacement Peter Nielsen said nobody had thought Libor could be fixed.

Nielsen said that although traders manipulated Libor submissions to benefit their own positions, they often harmed other trades in the bank and so left no net gain for RBS.

“In many cases some of the requests would have had an effect that we could not say benefited the bank,” he told MPs and peers on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards. “They may have benefited one trader’s portfolio at the expense of another’s.”

And he said Libor was never seen as a possible weakness: “Senior management thought it was a mathematical impossibility.”

Meanwhile RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton defended chief exec Stephen Hester’s pay package, arguing Hester is paid “modestly relative to other people doing these jobs.”