Exclusive: Bank probes find manipulation in Singapore’s offshore FX market – source
By Rachel Armstrong
SINGAPORE | Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:40pm EST
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Internal reviews by banks in Singapore have found evidence that traders colluded to manipulate rates in the offshore foreign exchange market, according to a source with knowledge of the inquiries.
The discovery widens a global lending rate scandal into new markets, as fallout from the Libor case puts banks under added scrutiny and spurs both regulators and institutions to reconsider how certain key interest and currency rates are set.
The probes found evidence showing that traders from several banks communicated with each other over electronic messaging about what rates they were going to submit for the local banking association’s fixings for non-deliverable foreign exchange forwards (NDFs), aiming to benefit their trading books….
The biggest banks in the Asian NDF markets include UBS, JPMorgan Chase & Co, DBS Group Holdings Ltd and HSBC Holdings Plc….
The Monetary Authority of Singapore told banks in the city state last July to review the way they set interbank lending rates, in the wake of the Libor scandal….
Of the 40 to 50 NDF traders based in Singapore, roughly half had either been put on leave, including those suspended while their activities in the market were under investigation, or left their jobs during the Singapore probes, the source said. It was not clear how many may have been or will be reinstated after the probes’ completion.
“A lot of banks are stuck, traders are suspended or have left, so the market is seeing around half its usual volume,” the source said.
Comment: It is significant that this article would be published on January 27, 2013, the last day of our prayer campaign against the red dragon. Half of the bankers in Singapore are under investigation and have been fired or arrested for market manipulations similar to the LIBOR scandal in the City of London. Since Singapore is the third largest financial district in the world, this is truly historic.