UK sets out terms of urgent Libor review

Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:31am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's government set out the terms for a revamp of a key interest rate rigged by a number of banks, including Barclays (BARC.L: Quote), saying on Monday that urgent reform is required.

The review will be conducted by Martin Wheatley, a top official at the Financial Services Authority regulator.

It will look at how Libor is constructed, the feasibility of using actual trades, governance, the potential for alternative rate-setting processes and how to move to a new regime.

Sanctions for abuse of Libor and whether the rate, currently supervised by its sponsor, the British Bankers' Association, should be formally and directly regulated under UK law.

"The benchmark rate is used globally for trillions of dollars worth of financial contracts. Therefore, it is clear that urgent reform of the Libor compilation process is required," Wheatley said in a statement published by the Treasury.

"The review will also consider whether similar measures are required for other existing benchmarks," Wheatley said.

Wheatley met members of the panel of banks that feed their date into the current rate-setting process on Monday.

He will publish a discussion paper on August 10 to kick off a four-week public consultation with final conclusions by the end of September.

Britain's Finance Minister George Osborne will then consider how Wheatley's recommendations can be incorporated into a financial services draft law already making its way through parliament.   Continued...

The letter "B" of the signage on the Barclays headquarters in Canary Wharf is hoisted up the side of the building in London July 20, 2012. REUTERS/Simon Newman