Bank suspends currency traders
HSBC has confirmed it has suspended two London-based exchange traders following investigations into currency exchange rigging.
The bank, alongside 15 others including Citigroup, JP Morgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank, are the subject of an ongoing inquiry by international regulators.
It follows allegations that traders may have worked together to fix currency values in the US and UK. The global currency market is estimated to be worth around $5.3 trillion-a-day (£3.2 trillion).
In October last year, the Financial Conduct Authority began a formal investigation into the currency market alongside the US justice department and a number of staff have been placed on suspension.
Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland recently suspended some employees as the investigation centres on whether senior traders discussed setting currency levels in online chatrooms.
The use of similar chatrooms was also questioned in last year’s probe into the false setting of the London interbank offered rate (Libor).
Antony Jenkins, the chief executive officer of Barclay’s, recently admitted it could take up to ten years for the bank to restore trust following the Libor-fixing scandal and the stepping down of boss Bob Diamond.
Speaking on the Today programme on Radio 4, Mr Jenkins explained that Barclays is attempting to change its culture after it was subjected to a £290 million fine as a result of the investigation, but it will take time.
“Trust is a very easy thing to lose and a very hard thing to win back…I can only be responsible for Barclays but I’m hoping that in what we do at Barclays we can also begin to rebuild trust in banking,” said Mr Jenkins.
As well as the Libor-fixing scandal, the bank’s reputation was also damaged after it was found responsible for the mis-selling of payment protection insurance.