When a German judge tells you in clipped tones that you do not want her weighing in on the matter of (a) your suspension for (allegedly!) trying to manipulate interest rates or (b) your suspending said alleged manipulators without actually following any of the (probably thousands of) rules in Germany regarding such, you listen. Deutsche […]
Will Barclays reprise its role as sucker to take the hardest fall? Or has it learned its lesson and won’t be raising its hand first this time?
Given, you know, things, the Financial Conduct Authority would like to spend a little more time and money rooting out a certain type of conduct.
JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank are extending bans on the use of multi-dealer online chatrooms, sources familiar with the plans told Reuters, as banks crack down on potentially inappropriate communications following a string of scandals. Chatrooms have been a focus for regulators investigating manipulation of benchmark interest rates and possible rigging in the $5.3 […]
Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond and other past executives at the British bank are set to be called as witnesses next year in a court case relating to the alleged manipulation of Libor interest rates. Barclays is being sued for up to 70 million pounds ($114 million) by Guardian Care Homes, a UK residential care […]
Deep in the bowels of the Zwillingstürme, Deutsche Bank has found the secretive space where its rogue employees conspired to do terrible things to Libor.
Time was, RBS had a lax policy on its employees manipulating the price of securities. It wasn’t something management had ever expressed a problem with and certainly no one was going to get fired for doing so, if it was even noticed, which typically it was not. Which is why trader Alex Mallinson felt comfortable […]
Diamond talked the situation through with Jennifer, his wife of 26 years. “What is the best thing right now I can do for the firm?” he asked. His answer: “Step aside and shut up.” His daughter, Nell, a recent graduate of Princeton, wasn’t quite so discreet. The morning after Diamond announced his resignation, she tweeted: […]
There are lots of ways to win a legal battle. You can win it outright. You can win it morally. And you can win it Pyrrhic-ally. Avoid the latter if you can.
Like many of its peers in the banking world, RBS used to make a habit of manipulating Libor (among other things). And, as recent reports suggest, the Royalest Bank of Scotland is probably going to be forced to cough up £300m (and fire a couple execs) to convince the government everyone is very sorry and it won’t happen again. How does the bank, which has not had a money-making quarter since the financial crisis,* plan to come up with the cash? By 1) taking back bonuses that were already paid out to people who were involved in the scandal and 2) reducing everyone‘s bonus this year.
Barclays has fired five employees following its internal investigation of the rigging of Libor interest rates and disciplined another eight people, the head of its investment bank said on Wednesday. Rich Ricci, chief executive of Barclays’ corporate and investment banking, said “a lot” of the individuals identified in its internal probe had left the bank […]
One thing that most people probably agree on is that having their instant messages, e-mails, and phone calls end up court would be cause for at least a little embarrassment. Everyone’s thrown in an emoticon they aren’t proud of, some of us have used company time to chat with significant others about undergarments, and the vast majority of workers have spent a not insignificant amount of the workday talking shit about their superiors. Of course, the humiliation gets ratcheted up a notch in the case of people who ‘haha’ (and in extreme circumstances “hahahah’) their own jokes* which, just for example, involve habitual Libor manipulation. Tan Chi Min knows what we’re talking about:
“Nice Libor,” Tan said in an April 2, 2008, instant message with traders including Neil Danziger, who also was fired by RBS, and David Pieri. “Our six-month fixing moved the entire fixing, hahahah.”
And while having such an exchange become public would be tremendously awkward for most, you know what’s really ‘hahaha’ about this whole thing is that 1) Tan was the one who wanted people to read the above, which was submitted as part of a 231-page affidavit earlier this month and 2) He’s trying to use it as evidence that he didn’t deserve to be fired.
The conversations among traders at RBS and firms including Deutsche Bank AG illustrate how the risk of abuse was embedded in the process for setting Libor, the benchmark for more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide……Tan, the bank’s former Singapore-based head of delta trading for Asia, [is] suing Britain’s third-biggest lender by assets for wrongful dismissal after being fired last year for allegedly trying to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.
Tan, who ‘allegedly‘ tried to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, also included this conversations as part of his defense:
“What’s the call on Libor,” Jezri Mohideen, then the bank’s head of yen products in Singapore, asked Danziger in an Aug. 21, 2007, chat.
“Where would you like it, Libor that is,” Danziger asked, according to a transcript included in Tan’s filings.
“Mixed feelings, but mostly I’d like it all lower so the world starts to make a little sense,” another trader responded.
“The whole HF world will be kissing you instead of calling me if Libor move lower,” Tan said, referring to hedge funds.
“OK, I will move the curve down 1 basis point, maybe more if I can,” Danziger replied.
In another conversation on March 27, 2008, Tan called for RBS to raise its Libor submission, saying an earlier lower figure the bank submitted may have cost his team 200,000 pounds.
“We need to bump it way up high, highest among all if possible,” Tan said.
Tan also asked for a high submission in an Aug. 20, 2007, instant message to Scott Nygaard, global head of RBS’s treasury markets in London.
“We want high fix in 3s,” Tan said in the message. “Neil is the one setting the yen Libor in London now and for this week and next.”
“It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money or lose if opposite,” Tan said on an Aug. 19, 2007, conversation with traders at other banks, including Deutsche Bank’s Mark Wong. “It’s a cartel now in London.”
And this philosophical one, for good measure:
“This whole process would make banks pull out of Libor fixing,” Tan said in a May 16, 2011, chat with money markets trader Andrew Smoler. “Question is what is illegal? If making money if bank fix it to suits its own books are illegal… then no point fixing it right? Cuz there will be days when we will def make money fixing it.”
The defense rests.
*Although actually people who do this probably don’t even have the good sense to be ashamed of themselves.
Breaking the speed limit in a school zone, for example, will cost you a couple mill, while volunteering with your local Boy Scouts chapter to help the troops earn their “Libor Manipulation” badges will translate to a few extra zeros on payday.
Barclays’ new chief executive said he will pay employees based in part on whether they are good citizens, as the British bank tries to restore its tarnished reputation. Within the next six to 12 months, Barclays will devise a “balance scorecard” with metrics that measure performance across a range of areas, including how the actions of executives affect the environment, Antony Jenkins said in a brief interview on Sunday at the Clinton Global Initiative…Jenkins, who previously ran Barclays’ business and retail banking division, said he managed the unit with a scorecard that rated employees on how their actions affected all stakeholders, including investors, customers, other employees and “society.” The scorecard includes a “citizenship” component, according to a bank spokesman.
Remember, earlier this summer, when a whole bunch of banks were sued over allegations their employees manipulated Libor? And Bob Diamond, CEO of the first, and so far only, bank to settle with regulators, lost his job, as did a bunch of his colleagues? And it was suggested that Barclays’s offenses were but a drop in the bucket compared with those of UBS? And experts projected that this whole thing could cost the banks being investigated (of which there are many) tens of billions of dollars to make go away? And Nellie Diamond stopped Tweeting? As much fun as that’s all been, a lot of firms would like to avoid going through it again, and to that end, have asked their compliance teams to run some workshops teaching employees how to keep things on the straight and narrow. For instance, while you might think that people would have mastered email by this point on the evolutionary chart– specifically, that it never goes away and might be read again– you would think wrong! So the point is being hammered home in remedial electronic correspondence classes, particularly to those who’d previously not seen an issue with writing stuff like, “Anything for you, Big Boy” as a response to the request “Can you manipulate Libor for me today when you’ve a sec?” Also on the schedule– mock happy hours with the team for members of the staff who can never seem to remember the appropriate response for when you’re out at Punch Tavern and someone brings up “Holly with the cans who did me a solid by shaving 45 basis points off our submission.”
“Everyone is more paranoid, that’s for sure,” said one department head at a European investment bank, where the trading floor is festooned with posters reminding staff to report any suspicious behaviour. At his bank and at least one other European firm, executives said they were being asked to take part in an increasing number of behavioural coaching sessions, including simulations of pub outings. These were mainly done via webcasts, where participants act out conversations with colleagues where the talk turns to clients or office gossip, two bankers said. “You have to turn around and say, ‘No, let’s not talk about that’,” said one.
Culture Clean Up Follows Bankers To Bar [Reuters]
One of Mr. Walker’s top priorities will be reforming the bank’s image. He was known recently for his “Walker review” on bank governance, commissioned by the U.K. government in the wake of the financial crisis. In the report, Mr. Walker called for increased time commitments and financial-industry experience from nonexecutive directors. He has also called […]
Barclays wants all its employees to learn that they never, ever should try to rig Libor again. To that end, the top executive at Barclays’ investment bank is appearing in a film about the lessons the bank has supposedly learned from the Libor scandal. And all Barclays employees are expected to watch the video. The […]
The bad news is that former Barclays chief operating officer Jerry del Missier is still out of a job and it may be some time before he gets a new one, on account of “investigations conducted by American and British authorities [demonstrating] he was a central figure” in the scandal du jour and “asked other bank officials to lower the firm’s submissions to Libor.” The good news is that Jer is still (probably) getting paid, unlike some people he knows.
Barclays was mired in fresh controversy on Wednesday night after handing almost £9m to a top banker who left following the Libor scandal and after one of its highest profile non-executive directors suddenly quit, taking the toll at the top to four. Jerry del Missier, who resigned after telling subordinates to reduce the bank’s Libor submission during the October 2008 banking crisis, was reported to have been handed £8.75m cash as part of his leaving package.
Shadow Treasury minister Chris Leslie called on del Missier to follow Diamond and waive the bulk of his payoff. “Having resigned from Barclays over the Libor fixing scandal, people will find the scale of this award completely inappropriate. Bob Diamond rightly waived most of his pay off and Mr del Missier ought to do the same,” Leslie said.
Or it might not. No one can say at this time. Charlie Gasparino reports:
BlackRock has $240 billion in money market assets, much of which is priced off of Libor. Thus even artificially depressing Libor a bit could mean that the firm’s customers missed out on billions upon billions in investment returns. A BlackRock spokeswoman told FOX Business: “We are closely following the investigations as well as related litigation to assess the full implications and possible impact these events may have had on our clients and the cash markets. The implications of the various investigations and litigation are complex and it will be some time before greater clarity emerges.”
Indeed, people inside BlackRock say assessing damages won’t be easy. First it’s unclear just how much the manipulation cost fund investors since the evidence so far shows that banks like Barclays only depressed their Libor submissions during certain periods of time, particularly during the financial crisis, when they didn’t want to alert investors that they were being charged higher interest rates to borrow money.
Barclays ex-chief operating officer, Jerry del Missier, contradicted Robert Diamond, saying his former boss told him to submit artificially low Libor rates, and blamed compliance managers for failing to act. Del Missier, 50, told Parliament’s Treasury Committee today that he received an instruction from Diamond, then chief executive officer, that he took to have come […]
Barclays has made a public apology to customers and clients, saying they have “been let down” by the bank. “We are truly sorry for what has happened,” Barclays said in a advertisement published in several British newspaper today, including the Financial Times, the London-based Times and the Guardian. “You are the lifeblood of our business, and we will not allow ourselves to be distracted from what really matters — delivering for you, day in and day out,” the statement, signed by Chairman Marcus Agius, says. “I also thank you for your business. It is our responsibility to earn the right to retain it.”
As long ago as June 2008, New York Federal Reserve President Timothy F. Geithner was warning the Bank of England that letting bankers set the benchmark interest rate for global finance was open to abuse. Governor Mervyn King’s failure then to take greater responsibility for Libor now poses a new threat to London’s drive to […]
Maria Bartiromo: Tim Geithner apparently flagged the problem 5 years ago. Why didn’t he do more about this? He basically called the Bank of England and said he was worried about the approach in terms of Libor, that they needed to change it. Did he do enough?
Eliot Spitzer: Look I think it would be preemptory to say one way or the other. This is something that needs an awful lot of examination. I think the fact that he knew in ’07, sent a memo in ’08 is only the first layer of inquiry. Did he follow up on it? Libor, as everyone who watches CNBC knows, is the heart and soul, it is the blood stream of the financial system. If anyone is rigging it or playing games with it then you must follow up. Anybody who is in the regulatory position that Tim Geithner was in, in my view the most important bank regulatory position in the world, how do you not follow up and say wait a minute guys what have you done? So it’s unclear, and I hate to use this metaphor perhaps but was this the sort of memo that was being sent at Penn State where you just kind of brush it aside or was it really and effort to do something?
MB: Oh god…
ES:…This bears an awful lot of inquiry. Because it goes to the very real question of whether the NY Fed did not fulfill its fundamental function to ensure the soundest [and] security of the balance sheets of the banks all the way through the period leading up to the crisis. Is this one piece of evidence that runs contrary to that or one piece of evidence that supports it? We don’t know yet.
MB: What a comparison.
ES: Well let me tell you Maria, unfortunately when you see memos at the top being written like that, you never know, you have to ask the question, what preceded it, what came after it, otherwise you don’t understand the texture of what was being done by that senior person.
Spitzer Talks Wall Street [CNBC]
There is a line forming to the left for people to beat up on Libor-manipulating banks, and it’s a long line so your beating time is limited and you have to make the most of it if you want anyone to care. Today’s the day for U.S. municipal borrowers. How’d they do? The municipalities are […]
The Libor scandal presents a whole range of questions from the very micro “how much did I lose on my mortgage”* through the micro yet fantastically large “what kind of total damages are floating around in lawsuits” past the pseudo-philosophical “how can I ever trust the financial system again”** all the way up to the […]