Standard Chartered Settles FX Manipulation Case in South Africa
Posted by Colin Lambert. Last updated: November 18, 2023
South Africa’s Competition Commission says it has reached has reached a settlement agreement with Standard Chartered, which has admitted liability in a manipulation case involving USD/ZAR at the WMR Fix and other times. The bank has further agreed to a fine of just over ZAR 42.7 million.
The Commission says the bank participated in the manipulation of USD/ZAR currency pair by fixing bids; offers; bid-offer spreads; the exchange rate; and the exchange rate at the Fix. Further, StanChart participated in dividing markets by allocating customers in terms of which one trader withholds or pulls an existing bid or offer from the market to allow another trader to execute and complete their trade.
The Commission launched a complaint on 1 April 2015, against various financial entities, including Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, JP Morgan, Investec, Standard New York Securities Inc, and Standard Chartered. It later added ABSA Bank, Credit Suisse, Commerzbank, Bank of America, HSBC, ANZ, Nomura International, and Macquarie Group to the complaint.
The settlement comes at a time when respondent banks are currently appearing before South Africa’s Competition Appeal Court (CAC) seeking an order to set aside a Competition Tribunal order of 30 March 2023 which ordered respondent banks to file their answers to the complaint referral. Citi is not involved as it settled the case in 2017.
“The Commission welcomes SCB’s decision to reach a settlement on this matter and encourages other respondent banks to consider settling the complaint against them,” says Competition Commissioner DorisTshepe. “Further, this settlement affirms the Commission’s pursuit of allegations related to the manipulation of the USD/ZAR currency pair, given the ultimate impact of the currency manipulation on the value of the South African rand.”