LONDON — Europe’s largest lender by assets, HSBC, faces a new legal challenge over alleged historical manipulation of the foreign exchange markets, according to a report from the Financial Times on Wednesday.
The FT says that the bank could face legal proceedings over allegations that some of its traders manipulated markets to help their own profits, doing so at the expense of clients. Those allegations are made by ECU Group, a currency investment firm and client of the bank.
ECU has “filed an application to London’s commercial court asking for HSBC to be required to hand over records relating to three large foreign exchange orders it executed in 2006,” the FT’s report says.
Those records would include “HSBC’s interbank dealing tickets, deal log entries and any relevant Bloomberg instant messages,” relating to three trades made in 2006. The trades were all worth over $US100 million each and were so-called “stop loss” trades. Stop loss trades are designed to limit losses by selling an asset — in this case, a currency — at a certain price and buying another.
ECU had previously believed that it was being “ripped off” by HSBC traders, and complained about the issue to HSBC, which then promised a full internal inquiry. That inquiry found no wrongdoing, after which time ECU dropped its complaints against HSBC.
It has now decided to revisit the issue following charges brought against two of HSBC’s top forex traders by the US Department of Justice last year.
Neither ECU nor HSBC commented on the Financial Times’ report at the time of publication.