The FSA’s component of the UBS settlement relating to Libor and Euribor was £160m — the largest fine it has ever imposed.
The UK financial regulator made some revealing comments on the Swiss group’s transgressions, which it says “involved a significant number of employees and occurred over a period of years in a number of countries”:
The misconduct was extensive and widespread. At least 2,000 requests for inappropriate submissions were documented – an unquantifiable number of oral requests, which by their nature would not be documented, were also made. Manipulation was also discussed in internal open chat forums and group emails, and was widely known. At least 45 individuals including traders, managers and senior managers were involved in, or aware of, the practice of attempting to influence submissions. The routine and widespread manipulation of the submissions was not detected by Compliance or by Group Internal Audit, which undertook five audits of the relevant business area during the relevant period.
Indeed the FSA suggests that requesting rate-fixings was “routine” at the bank:
Even when the trading and submitting roles were split in Autumn 2009, UBS’s systems and controls did not prevent traders from camouflaging their requests as “market colour”. Given the widespread and routine nature of the requests to change LIBOR and EURIBOR and the nature of the control failures, the FSA found that every LIBOR and EURIBOR submission, in currencies and tenors in which UBS traded during the relevant period, was at risk of having been improperly influenced to benefit derivatives trading positions.
We look forward to some transcripts of those chats leaking out…