Singapore’s central bank returned as much as S$12 billion ($9.3 billion) that it took from 19 lenders last year as a penalty for trying to rig benchmark interest rates.
UBS AG (UBSN), Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and ING Group NV were among the banks asked to post reserves ranging from S$100 million to S$1.2 billion for a year at zero interest in June 2013. The Monetary Authority of Singapore had censured 20 banks whose traders tried to manipulate the Singapore interbank offered rate, swap offered rates and currency benchmarks in the city-state. Commerzbank AG (CBK) was exempted from setting aside cash.
“These banks have completed the remedial actions to strengthen the governance, internal controls and surveillance systems for their benchmark submissions and trading operations,” the authority said in an e-mailed statement.
Returning the money puts to rest investigations in Singapore that started last year amid a widening global review of benchmark rates following reports of potential manipulation. Barclays Plc, UBS and RBS have paid billions of dollars to settle claims with U.S. and U.K. financial regulators on rigging Libor. MAS has said it will make rigging key rates a criminal offense and bring supervision under its direct oversight.
The banks took disciplinary action against 133 traders found to have tried to rig the rates, with about three-quarters of them having resigned or been asked to leave their firms, MAS said last year. The traders who are still employed will be subject to disciplinary action, it said.
During the review of benchmarks set from 2007 to 2011, the central bank’s officials went through more than 100 million documents, according to MAS.
Bank of America Corp., BNP Paribas SA (BNP), Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., Barclays, Credit Agricole SA, Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), DBS Group Holdings Ltd. (DBS), Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Standard Chartered Plc (STAN), United Overseas Bank Ltd., Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. (ANZ), Citigroup Inc. (C), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG), HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (8306)’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. unit were among the banks named by MAS in the statement last year.