G20's Financial Stability Board Set To Reform Key Interest Rate After Scandals Of 2012

 @natrudy on June 25 2013 11:40 AM
Libor Survey Report
The CFA Institute for investment professionals conducted a survey last fall asking members how they would like to see the interbank lending rate be determined. Only 3 percent like the status quo. Most preferred what U.S. regulators are calling for. Nearly one-third supported the dual-track method. CFA Institute/Reuters

An international rulemaking board for global banking will evaluate how one of the world's most critical interest rates is set and determine if reforms are needed after a scandal last year raised widespread concern about the rate being manipulated.

The London Interbank Offered Rate, or Libor, is a metric that aims to track the rates at which banks lend to each other, but it also indirectly affects mortgages, car loans, the interest rate of government bonds and other types of debt.

The Financial Stability Board, which was created by the G-20 group of nations, said Tuesday in a statement that a steering group of regulators and central banks will review existing interest rate benchmarks.

The international body, which monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system, said it will “examine whether the governance and processes around these benchmarks meet agreed international standards.”

Last year, confidence in Libor suffered after regulators fined three banks for rigging rates. Several other banks are still being investigated.

“What has to be taken into account is the robustness of the standard,” Mark Carney, FSB's chairman and the incoming Bank of England governor, told Reuters.

U.K. financial regulator Martin Wheatley and Jeremy Stein, of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, will serve as co-chairmen of the FSB steering group.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission wants to replace Libor with rates based on actual market transactions, a change that Wheatley has said won't be easy.

Wheatley has led earlier reforms of Libor, according to the British Bankers’ Association, which administers the benchmark. 

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