Hong Kong jumps on UBS Libor bandwagon

Officials in Hong Kong have launched an investigation into UBS just a day after it agreed a fine with US, UK and Swiss regulators.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

It looks like more payouts could be on the way for Swiss lender UBS, after Hong Kong announced an investigation into ‘possible misconduct’ surrounding the city’s interbank lending rate (similar to London’s Libor).

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which is the city’s central bank, said that it has been passed information from other global regulators leading it to question whether there has been some misconduct.

In some ways it is no surprise that the HK regulators want to have a look and see what’s going on: the world only found out yesterday that UBS has agreed to pay a $1.5bn fine to US, and Swiss regulators, as well as the UK’s financial services authority. 

It has already admitted to manipulating Euribor and Tibor, which are the rates at which banks lend to each other in the eurozone and in Tokyo, earning it the second-largest banking fine in the history of the financial industry. Earlier this year, Barclays was fined £290m by regulators over Libor rate fixing, too.

UBS’s chief executive, Sergio Ermotti, said: ‘During the course of these investigations, we discovered behaviour of certain employees that is unacceptable. Their misconduct does not reflect the values of UBS nor the high ethical standards to which we hold every employee.’

He added: ‘We have co-operated fully with the authorities and taken decisive and appropriate actions to correct the issues and to strengthen our control processes and procedures.’ Too little, too late, it would seem.

To see MT’s coverage of the communications between UBS traders, in which their limited spelling ability is laid bare, click here.

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