SYDNEY: ANZ Bank has suspended seven traders pending the outcome of an investigation by Australia’s corporate watchdog into possible rigging of the country’s benchmark interest rate.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is examining trading practices from 2007 to 2013 in interbank lending, known as the bank bill swap rate market. ANZ has been conducting its own internal review and chief risk officer Nigel Williams said seven staff had been stood down while the probe into the rate at which banks lend to each other continues.
“We have been treating this matter very seriously and we are continuing to cooperate fully with ASIC,” he said in a statement late Wednesday (Nov 19). “This is a complex issue and ASIC’s investigation and ANZ’s internal review may not be complete for some time.
“In light of this, we are taking the precaution of having seven staff involved in markets trading step down pending completion of the investigation into practices to 2013.” ASIC’s probe could result in civil and criminal penalties.
Investigations of currency market manipulation are not limited to Australia, with several lenders including Royal Bank of Scotland fined for rigging Libor, the London interbank offered rate.
“Appropriate conduct is an over-riding priority in everything we do at ANZ,” added Williams. “We have worked hard to have the right risk culture including ongoing culture and compliance programmes in our markets-facing businesses.”