ANZ, Macquarie named by Singapore in rate-rigging scandal

ANZ and Macquarie have been implicated in an interest-rate rigging scandal in Singapore, forcing each of them to set aside an extra $S100 million ($83 million) to $S300 million in reserves.

ANZ and Macquarie have been implicated in an interest-rate rigging scandal in Singapore, forcing each of them to set aside an extra $S100 million ($83 million) to $S300 million in reserves.

Singapore's monetary authority censured 20 banks from around the world for trying to rig benchmark interest rates, ordering them to set aside as much as $S12 billion at zero interest pending steps to improve internal controls.

The Australian body overseeing the setting of this country's banking price gauge insists there will be no direct implications for the local benchmark, despite the naming of ANZ and Macquarie by Singapore authorities.

Australian Financial Markets Association executive director David Lynch said the local bank bill swap rate was "quite different" to either the Singapore or British interest-rate benchmarks.

"It is a matter for Singapore - it is something outside our jurisdiction," he said. "The benchmark that we have here is derived from quite a different methodology."

On Friday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore alleged 133 traders tried to manipulate the Singapore interbank offered rate (SIBOR), swap offered rates (SOR) and currency benchmarks.

A spokesman for ANZ said the bank had identified behaviour by certain employees that was "inappropriate" but no one had been dismissed.

"Whilst the MAS Review produced no conclusive finding that SIBOR, SOR and FX benchmarks were successfully manipulated, they found the conduct of a number of traders at banks lacked professional ethics," the spokesman said.

"No one has been dismissed. However, appropriate disciplinary action has been taken with a small number of staff."

In response to what the MAS judged were inadequate risk procedures, the 20 banks will be required to set aside additional statutory reserves with the central bank.

Both Macquarie and ANZ were part of a group of banks identified by the MAS that will have to set aside up to $S300 million with the central bank. But this is less than the requirement imposed on banks seen to have made more serious breaches, with UBS, ING and Royal Bank of Scotland forced to set aside between $S1 billion and $S1.2 billion.

The document said Macquarie was not a contributing bank to the setting of benchmark interest rates, which are administered by the Association of Banks in Singapore.

ANZ said the requirement would not have a material effect on its Singapore operations, and it had overhauled its rate-setting processes and lifted training standards. Macquarie declined to comment.

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