NYSE Euronext to take over running of Libor

Changeover to be completed next year seeksto restore confidence in scandal-hit lending rate

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 4:38am

The company behind the New York Stock Exchange will take over running and restoring confidence in the scandal-hit London interbank offered rate, or Libor, a British committee has ruled.

The independent panel, set up by the Treasury, chose NYSE Euronext yesterday to take over Libor from the British Bankers' Association, which had supervised the rate-setting for decades.

The changeover is scheduled to be completed by early next year, the panel's chairwoman, Sarah Hogg, said in a statement. The committee did not identify other bidders.

"This change will play a vital role in restoring the international credibility of Libor," Hogg said.

Libor underpins trillions of dollars of transactions all over the world. It is an average rate that measures how much banks expect to pay each other for loans. The rate is also used in calculating borrowing costs of hundreds of trillions of dollars in bonds, car loans and derivatives.

But the rate was based on a system that relied on the banks to be honest. Revelations of its manipulation last summer both shocked the financial community and forced a reform in how it was administered.

The scandal emerged when authorities realised banks - including Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and UBS - were submitting false data to gain market advantages.

US and British regulators fined RBS more than US$460 million for rate-rigging. Barclays' role led to a US$453 million fine and the resignation of chief executive Bob Diamond. Swiss bank UBS was fined US$1.5 billion.

After the scandal erupted, the government moved to restore confidence in Libor's integrity, establishing the panel to review the rate and creating criminal penalties for those who violate the rules.

"We want to protect taxpayers and restore faith in financial services," Greg Clark, financial secretary to the Treasury, said in a statement.

"The government is committed to developing a safer and strong banking sector. We want a financial sector that serves the interests of business and helps to drive economic growth."

The rate will be administered by NYSE Euronext Rate Administration, a new subsidiary of NYSE Euronext.