FCA in first banker ban over Libor fixing

FCA in first banker ban over Libor fixing

The Financial Conduct Authority has banned a former trader at Dutch banking group Rabobank from the UK financial services industry, in its “first public action” against a trader for manipulation of the London interbank offered rate.

In a final notice, published today (17 March), the regulator banned Paul Robson from the UK financial services industry for lacking honesty and integrity, following a criminal conviction for fraud in the US.

In 2014 Mr Robson pleaded guilty in the US for his role in a conspiracy to manipulate Rabobank’s Yen/Libor submissions to benefit trading positions.

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The FCA said this is its “first public action” against a trader for manipulating Libor submissions and to date it has issued 14 warning notices relating to interest rate benchmarks, with the wider investigation into to Libor misconduct still underway.

In January, the regulator banned two former senior executives of an interdealer broker and fined them a combined £315,000 over “compliance and cultural failings” relating to Libor manipulation.

In December 2013, the regulator fined Rabobank £105m for “serious, prolonged and widespread” misconduct relating to Libor. Rabobank’s poor internal controls encouraged collusion between traders and Libor submitters, allowing systematic attempts at benchmark manipulation.

Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA deemed Mr Robson’s behaviour “particularly serious” and that there was no excuse, given he was the primary submitter of Yen/Libor at the bank for a number of years.

“He knew what he was doing was wrong. This ban reinforces our expectation that individuals and firms take responsibility for ensuring market integrity and reminds them of the consequences if they fall short of our standards.”

The FCA issued Mr Robson with a warning notice on 28 November 2013, but proceedings were stayed due to ongoing criminal investigations.

Today’s ban comes ahead of sentencing in the US in 2017.