Singapore orders 20 top banks to clean up act after Libor scandal

Tim Wallace
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TWENTY of the world’s biggest banks have been told to hold more reserves with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, in a row over attempted manipulation of key financial benchmarks.

The central bank said it found 133 traders attempting to rig interest rates and currency rates, and has ordered banks to increase monitoring of rate-setting activity, as well as appointing independent parties to implement new controls.

It covers rates including the Singapore interbank offered rate (Sibor), the swap offer rate (SOR) and foreign exchange rates administered by the Association of Banks in Singapore.

Criminal penalties will also become available under a new set of rules being introduced by MAS to police the markets.

Meanwhile the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (Iosco) is expected to announce tougher rules on the transparency of a range of international benchmarks over the coming months.

“All benchmarks share similar vulnerabilities so there is a need for a framework that applies to all benchmarks to ensure their integrity and restore market confidence,” said a European Commission spokesperson.

RBS, one of the major banks involved in the MAS investigation, said it assisting the authorities.

“RBS has co-operated fully with MAS on its review of benchmark submissions and will comply with any required regulatory, capital and remedial measures,” said a spokesperson.