Singapore Ups Reserve Requirements For 20 Banks As Censure For Rate Manipulation

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Singapore's monetary regulator announced Friday that it's censuring at least 20 banks for trying to rig benchmark interest rates and ordered them to set aside hefty reserves. The Monetary Authority of Singapore also said it had identified 133 traders that participated in the manipulation and that some of them will be investigated by the country’s white collar crimes unit.

ING Groep NV (NYSE:ING), UBS AG (NYSE:UBS) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (NYSE:RBS) are the banks facing the most censure: each will be required to increase their reserves by as much as 1.2 billion Singaporean dollars ($958 million), Reuters reports. The move by MAS comes nearly a year after the Libor rate-rigging scandal erupted in London – where banks were found to be colluding to manipulate the benchmark rate they lend to each other that affects the cost of consumer loans.

“A number of regulators, including [MAS], have investigated or taken enforcement actions in relation to attempted manipulation of Interbank Offered Rates,” MAS said in a report issued Friday on strengthening the regulatory framework of the local banking system.

Singapore's entire rate-setting system is facing a similar overhaul as in London after the Libor manipulations, where banks will no longer be allowed to unilaterally decide how much it will cost the world to borrow money without regulatory scrutiny. 

 

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