FSA: LIBOR Internal Audit Report

9 03 2013

Punishing banks – Barclays, UBS and RBS – by imposing fines against them for manipulated LIBOR submissions has been a vexing issue for the Financial Services Authority (FSA). After receiving its final notice, Barclays told the Treasury Committee (see Fixing LIBOR: some preliminary findings) that – in order to avoid negative media comment (lowballing) – the issue that firms were making inappropriate LIBOR submissions was raised with the FSA on 13 occasions. Noting media and academic concern, the Treasury Committee highlighted that:

44. Barclays’ continuing manipulation of its own LIBOR setting took place against a background of media concern about the LIBOR setting process during the [financial] crisis. On 25 September 2007, an article by Gillian Tett in the Financial Times entitled “LIBOR’s value called into question” noted the complaint of the Treasurer of one of the largest City banks that “The LIBOR rates are a bit of a fiction. The number on the screen doesn’t always match what we see now.”

45. On 16 April 2008, the Wall Street Journal published an article called “Bankers cast doubt on Key Rate amid crisis” by Carrick Mollenkamp. This noted that: “The concern: Some banks don’t want to report the high rates they’re paying for short-term loans because they don’t want to tip off the market that they’re desperate for cash. The LIBOR system depends on banks to tell the truth about their borrowing rates. Read the rest of this entry »