7 ANZ Traders Stood Down Amid Investigation Into Alleged Interest Rate Manipulation

ANZ CEO Mike Smith

Seven traders at the ANZ have been stood down as part of an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation into whether they tried to influence rates on the Bank Bill Swap Rate (BBSW) market.

The BBSW is the rate banks charge each other for transactions on short-term money markets.

ASIC has been looking into the matter since mid-2012, investigating the 14 banks involved in the BBSW submission process, including the big four, and the ANZ has been holding its own internal review covering a period between 2007 and 2013. The BBSW panel ended in March 2013.

This afternoon the bank’s chief risk officer Nigel Williams said the ANZ had taken the precautionary measure of standing down seven staff members pending the completion of its investigation. The news was announced after the market closed.

“We have been treating this matter very seriously and we are continuing to cooperate fully with ASIC. This is a complex issue and ASIC’s investigation and ANZ’s internal review may not be complete for some time,” he said.

ASIC’s inquiries into BBSW trading are ongoing and the ANZ said it was inappropriate to comment further.

The investigation has already seen the Royal Bank of Scotland pay a $1.6 million penalty in July after the RBS admitted there was evidence of rate rigging in its submissions, while BNP Paribas and UBS were both fined $1 million for their roles in manipulating the interest rate.

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