A London court this week will rule whether a multi-billion-pound class action filed against the world’s largest banks over accusations of foreign exchange rigging can proceed.
Barclays, NatWest, UBS, Citigroup, JPMorgan and MUFG Bank are waiting to see whether they will face the first forex class action in the UK after the five-day hearing kicked off on Monday.
The former chairman of British watchdog The Pensions Regulator Michael O’Higgins, alongside Phillip Evans, previously an executive at the Competition Markets Authority, are currently arguing in court to allow them to lead a class action case representing pension funds and asset managers.
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In a statement before the hearing kicked off, O’Higgins said “these high profile banks manipulated FX over several years, costing billions to pension funds, asset managers and other companies.”
“This legal action will ensure that all affected entities – large and small, based in the UK and abroad – are able to obtain the compensation that they are owed” he added.
London’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) will rule on whether the planned lawsuit can proceed as a collective action and, if so, which representative is suitable to bring it.
O’Higgins and Evans both presented their opening arguing arguments on why they should lead the lawsuit today.
In his opening remarks, O’Higgins said “I strongly believe that fair competition is essential for responsible capitalism. Free markets must be fair and fair competition is essential to that. The proposed defendants need to be held to account and the proposed class compensated.”
In May 2019, the European Commission found that, between 18 December 2007 and 31 January 2013, traders employed by the banks exchanged commercially sensitive information and trading plans and occasionally coordinated their trading strategies through various private.
This ruling resulted in the banks being fined €1.08bn by the European Commission for forex price manipulation.
The hearing comes after a CAT judge ruled in 2019 there could only be a sole representative for the lawsuit.