Thu, Apr 03, 2014 - Page 15 News List

HKMA investigates reports of currency manipulation

The Guardian

Hong Kong’s monetary authority has become the latest regulator to investigate a number of banks in the widening global inquiry into alleged manipulation of foreign exchange markets.

The news comes a day after Switzerland’s competition commission opened an investigation into several Swiss, US and UK banks, including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland, over potential collusion to manipulate currency rates in the US$5.3 trillion-a-day market.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said on Tuesday that it had asked several banks to conduct independent reviews of their foreign exchange operations and submit the results.

“The reviews are in progress. The HKMA is also liaising with relevant overseas bank supervisors on the matter,” a spokeswoman for the HKMA told Reuters.

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority on Monday said it would assess whether banks had reduced the risk of traders manipulating benchmark rates, to see if lessons had been learned from the scandal over benchmark rate rigging.

Several banks and brokers have been fined billions of dollars as a result of the investigations around the world, and about 30 traders have been placed on leave, suspended, or fired.

Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has cautioned that the forex rigging scandal is at least as bad as the one involving the London interbank offered rate.

The bank suspended an employee a month ago when it began a formal inquiry into whether its staff knew about or condoned potential market rigging.

Authorities are looking at whether traders from different banks worked together to influence currency prices and if they traded ahead of their own customers or failed to inform clients how they were determining prices.

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