Barclays And RBS Suspend FX Traders
Barclays Plc has suspended a chief forex trader in its London office. This comes just days after the banking giant announced that the United States Department of Justice had opened a probe into its foreign exchange trading.
Apparently, the bank is being investigated once again regarding the alleged manipulation of foreign exchange rates. These rates help set the amount of trillions of dollars in trading around the globe, and manipulation of the rates could lead to market breakdowns.
Barclays Suspends 3 Traders
Chris Ashton, Jack Murray, and Mark Clark are the three traders identified as being suspended by a source who asked Bloomberg not to reveal his identity.
Ashton has been identified as the global head of voice spot trading, according to a Barclays e-mail sent last month. This places him in a position to have inside information regarding foreign currency exchange rates, and the ability to manipulate those rates.
Murray and Clark are spot currency traders who worked under Ashton. None of the three men have replied to requests for comments regarding the matter, and it remains a mystery if any other traders were involved.
Barclays Plc has opened an internal investigation of the matter, hoping to get to the bottom of what, if anything, happened within the walls of their bank. Meanwhile, the U.K., Switzerland, U.S., and Asia have opened investigations of their own. These probes are looking into the foreign exchange market, which moves $5.3 trillion per day.
These investigations come after a Bloomberg News report in June of 2013 claimed that dealers were front-running orders for their clients. This activity could cause the benchmark for foreign currency exchange to be manipulated, which would lead to trades that benefited the clients of those involved.
The method used for this manipulation was rushing trades through in the 60 second window while the mark is set. This has caused companies all over the globe to begin reviewing instant messages, e-mails, phone calls, and trading data to ensure they have not been compromised as well.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, which is the largest publicly traded bank in Britain, has suspended two traders today as well. Paul Nash and Julian Munson were suspended due to the open investigation a source told Bloomberg.
RBS has made its position on manipulation very well known, saying, “We will come down very severely on anyone who we discover is breaking the rules.” This statement comes from Ross McEwan, the CEO of RBS.
Other Banks Involved
JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and UBS are also involved in the probe, which is sweeping around the world. UBS has also said that it is taking measures against its employees, although no names were released. The bank also did not disclose what actions had been taken.
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