Exploring the Latest Forex Trading Scandal
Every day, the global foreign-exchange markets oversee the exchange of trillions of dollars’ worth of shares. Many of the world’s major currencies, including dollars, and euros, are traded in an environment that’s under-regulated, and often dominated by a specific group of elite banking professionals.
Lately, whispers around the security and performance of the foreign-exchange market have begun to grow louder, after regulators in Switzerland, Britain, and the United States have begun to accuse various international banks of manipulating the rates for specific exchange currencies. According to the unhappy regulators, a total of $3.4 billion in fines have been launched against financial institutions, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, UBS, HSBC, JP Morgan Chase, and Citibank.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced that they received a fine of around $400 million, while Citigroup Inc. claimed that they were given a charge of $600 million. Information about the fines for the remaining three UK banks is uncertain.
Outlining the Details of the Scandal
The US, Switzerland, and Britain regulatory bodies researched the performance of the banks mentioned above, and found that each had failed to offer appropriate training for foreign currency traders in their employment. The result of this lack of training meant that traders were able to start forming groups that could manipulate the market based on shared financial data.
Regulators believed that the accused manipulation of the market took place between the first of January in 2008, and the 15th of October 2013. The current bodies involved include:
- The US Department of Justice
- The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission
- The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority
- The Switzerland Competition Commission
- The UK Serious Fraud Office
- The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- The Hong Kong Monetary Authority
The Dangers of Market Manipulation
The scandal touched on the Bank of England early in 2017, when the group chose to suspend an employee and begin a company-wide investigation examining countless emails and chat room records, alongside hours of telephone recordings for any sign of rate discrepancies. According to the results of the investigation, the chief foreign currency dealer for the bank of England was aware that bank traders were sharing information since at least the 16th of May 2008. Though he had concerns that there may be signs of “collusive behavior” as of November 28th 2012, the employee did not inform any of his superiors.
There’s a chance that the scandal might grow even larger in coming months, as investigations are launched into the potential manipulation of the LIBOR rate, which contributed to billions in potential fines for any bank involved. Because an evaluation of the Forex trading environment requires a thorough investigation into the integrity of the markets overall, there could be serious repercussions in the pipeline.
According to the finance professor for the University of Notre Dame, Jeffrey Bergstrand, continued development into the case could mean that stronger regulations are put in place for the trading market. However, such a change could be very difficult to implement. After all, we’d need to set up a strategy for coordination around the world.