The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is set to take control of a key scandal-hit bank interest rate. NYSE Euronext has won the contract for setting the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (Libor), a government-backed committee announced. Libor is used to set trillions of dollars of financial contracts.
The move follows the revelation that banks had been manipulating the rate. Barclays, UBS and RBS have all been fined for their roles in the scandal.
They were found to have colluded in fixing the Libor setting in order to boost the profits of traders in the run-up to the financial crisis.
The new rate-setting body, to be known as NYSE Euronext Rate Administration, will be based in the UK and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
This change will play a vital role in restoring the international credibility of Libor, said Baroness Hogg, chair of the committee tasked with selecting a new administrator for the interest rate.
Today marks a significant step in implementing the recommendations in my review of Libor, said Martin Wheatley, chief executive of the FCA and author of a report for the government on how the interest rate should be reformed.
The selection of a new administrator, who will need to be authorised, and then subject to ongoing scrutiny by the FCA, is an important step in enhancing the integrity of Libor.
Libor is set in London and is meant to reflect the average rate that banks pay to lend to each other. It is used to benchmark everything from car loans and mortgages to complex financial transactions around the world.
At the moment, it is calculated by Thomson Reuters for the British Bankers' Association (BBA), based on estimates received from 16 major international banks in London of how much they must pay in order to borrow cash from other banks.
Under the new agreement, the rate would be calculated by estimates received from those same banks, as well as by using transaction data monitored by NYSE Euronext. It is hoped that by augmenting the self-reporting with transaction data it will help further prevent the rate from falling prey to manipulation.
An oversight committee will also be created to set up a code of conduct on how banks can operate.
Both of these factors will be in place by the time NYSE Euronext takes over the contract, in early 2014.
Stuart Sloan, executive director of NYSE Euronext, told the BBC that NYSE Euronext was also committed to restoring the credibility of Libor.
The BBA welcomed the move and said that restoring confidence in Libor was a priority.
We have been working hard with regulatory authorities and the government to put in place much-needed reforms to the system, said BBA's chief executive Anthony Browne.
The new administrator will take over a benchmark with better regulatory oversight and improved governance. Thomson Reuters will continue to make the calculations until the new entity is set up.