April 10, 2014 / 4:08 PM / in 3 years

Senior central bank officials, forex industry meet to address FX fixing reform

LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) - Senior foreign exchange officials from the world’s major central banks will gather in Sydney on Friday, with allegations of collusion and price manipulation in the world’s largest financial market likely to dominate the regular annual meeting.

FX market participants are struggling to coordinate their response to the global investigation underway into charges that senior bank dealers shared client order information with each other around the daily setting of reference exchange rates in London.

Trillions of dollars of investments and trade deals are tied to these rates, the so-called “London fixings”, and to date more than 30 traders at many major banks have been placed on leave, suspended or fired.

No individual or institution has been accused of any wrongdoing.

The Bank of England and European Central Bank are among the monetary authorities sending officials to the meeting in Sydney, which will be chaired by Reserve Bank of Australia assistant governor Guy Debelle, central bank spokesmen and market sources said.

They will be joined by a handful of senior FX managers from some of the major banks in each jurisdiction.

A review of the ‘fixings’ is expected to be on the agenda, as well as discussion around the various industry codes of conduct, according to one senior industry source.

The meeting’s findings will also help form a broader set of conclusions and recommendations that will be put to the Financial Stability Board in November, sources said.

The FSB was set up by the Group of 20 leading industrial nations last year to coordinate and guide reform of global interest rate benchmarks.

Earlier this year a new sub-group on FX benchmarks was established to look at the FX market. This sub-group is co-chaired by Debelle and the Bank of England’s Paul Fisher.

Regulators around the world, including Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority and the U.S. Department of Justice are looking into the allegations, which FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley has said are “every bit as bad” as the Libor interest rate scandal.

That scandal is ongoing, and has so far cost banks $6 billion in fines and settlements. (Writing by Patrick Graham and Jamie McGeever; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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