RBS cuts some forex fixings services as global probe continues

Tue Jan 28, 2014 7:47am EST
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By Patrick Graham

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote) has told clients it will stop accepting orders for a number of currency fixings, citing an internal review and declining comment on any link to a global inquiry into possible manipulation of the daily benchmarks.

RBS said the move, which drops such services around all but the main U.S. and European daily market fixings and a handful of those in major emerging markets, was aimed at balancing the needs of the bank and its customers.

Benchmark foreign exchange rates, or daily fixings, are a cornerstone of global financial markets, used to price trillions of dollars worth of investments and deals and relied upon by companies, investors and central banks.

A spokesman for RBS declined to give details of how many fixings it had dropped in total, or to comment further on the global probe, saying only that the move was the result of the bank's review of procedures around the daily benchmarks.

Banks traditionally accept foreign exchange orders from clients ahead of the fixings and official investigations under way world wide are seeking to establish whether traders used client order information to improperly influence the fixes.

In echoes of the global probe into the manipulation of benchmark interest rates, authorities are investigating whether traders at investment banks shared market-sensitive information with counterparts at other banks to try and rig FX rates, tipping each other off about their positions to try and influence the rate set.

The probes have resulted in the firing or suspension of several traders at major banks.

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A sign is seen outside a Royal Bank of Scotland building in central London January 28, 2014. REUTERS/Paul Hackett