The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has reached a settlement with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which includes an US$85 million penalty, on Friday for the bank’s attempted manipulation of the ISDAFIX benchmark.
Specifically, various RBS traders attempted to manipulate the U.S. dollar version of the global benchmark for interest rate products between January 2007 and March 2012, according to the CFTC’s order.
“RBS engaged in the unlawful conduct in order to benefit certain derivatives positions it held that were priced or valued off of the U.S. dollar ISDAFIX benchmark,” the CFTC’s order says.
In addition to the US$85-million penalty, RBS will be required to take steps to implement and strengthen its internal controls, including measures to detect and deter trading designed to manipulate swap rates. The CFTC acknowledges that RBS co-operated with its investigation.
“People around the world rely on benchmark rates such as ISDAFIX. This is our fourth enforcement action relating to attempts to manipulate the ISDAFIX,” says Aitan Goelman, director of the CFTC’s division of enforcement, in a statement. “These actions, and the CFTC’s previous cases against those who sought to corrupt the LIBOR and foreign-exchange benchmark rates, make clear that the commission takes very seriously its role in ensuring the integrity of any and all benchmarks used in our markets.”