Barclays joins banks helping with forex probe

Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:09am EDT
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By Steve Slater and Matt Scuffham

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays (BARC.L: Quote) is cooperating with regulators investigating possible manipulation of currency trading by banks, deepening scrutiny of its conduct as it also grapples with a slump in investment banking income.

Britain's third-biggest bank by stock market value said on Wednesday it was reviewing its foreign exchange trading over several years and was cooperating with authorities investigating possible attempts to manipulate certain benchmark rates.

Several banks are under the spotlight over alleged rigging in the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

UBS UBSN.VX and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote) are also cooperating with regulators, while Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote) said it is reviewing its FX processes.

The forex investigation adds to a string of probes faced by Barclays boss Antony Jenkins, who took over as chief executive 14 months ago and is trying to rebuild his bank's reputation after a series of scandals while trying to streamline his bank and improve profitability.

"From time to time these legacy issues will arise and will have to be dealt with," Jenkins said. "We are in the process of changing the culture of Barclays. I've said it will take five to 10 years to deeply embed that cultural change, and we are on track."

Jenkins declined to comment further on the currency probe or on other investigations, such as a fundraising from investors in Qatar five years ago when Barclays acted "recklessly" for failing to disclose payments, according to Britain's financial watchdog.

Barclays reported an underlying pretax profit of 1.4 billion pounds ($2.3 billion) for the three months through September, down from 1.9 billion a year ago but above an average forecast of 1.3 billion from analysts polled by the company.   Continued...

The logo of Barclays bank is seen at its office in the Canary Wharf business district of London April 1, 2013. REUTERS/Chris Helgren