Top global banks under scanner for forex market manipulation

Some of the biggest banks in the world are facing investigation for their suspected involvement in rigging the Foreign Exchange (Forex) markets.

Seven investigating agencies including UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and authorities in Switzerland, the US and Hong Kong are probing into the matter. So far, information has been requested from at least 15 banks. The investigations are examining whether traders manipulated markets by exchanging information and trading ahead of their clients.

The focus of the probes is on the euro-dollar market, the most liquid currency market in the world which accounts for almost a quarter of the $5.3 trillion daily trading volume. Trading in sterling, Australian dollar and Scandinavian currencies are also under scanner.

What is the matter behind forex market manipulation?

Forex market is the largest and yet the least regulated market in the financial world. With trading of more than $5 trillion a day, it overshadows any stock or bond market.  There are suspicions that a group of traders operated in a cartel to rig the currency market for personal profits. Authorities suspect that traders used the chat rooms to lay out their strategies. The traders, using information gathered from their clients, are suspected of agreeing to flood the market with orders for currencies just seconds before an independent service, WM/Reuters Co, set some of the benchmark rates. The most important rate is based on trades in a period shortly before 4 pm London time, so a flurry of last-second orders from banks could change the rate in their favor.

The banks under investigation by the FCA and other regulators in the expanding currencies probe include Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered and UBS.



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