Tibor reference banks face scrutiny

Bloomberg

The Japanese Bankers Association is considering a review of as many as 16 banks to confirm that they are following the lobbying group’s guidelines for submitting Tokyo interbank offered rates.

As many as 15 reference banks may be reviewed for how they submit their euro-yen Tibor rates, said Hisanao Aoki, a spokesman for the association.

Barclays PLC last month was fined £290 million ($453 million) for rigging London interbank rates, prompting authorities in Europe, Asia and the U.S. to broaden inquiries into manipulation of benchmark gauges for borrowing costs. Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG in December were ordered by Japanese regulators to suspend some operations after the banks’ staff were found to have attempted to influence Tibor rates.

“There’s growing pressure from Japanese lawmakers on the banking industry to determine and confirm that Tibor has been properly submitted and set without any wrongdoing,” said Shinichi Nakamura, an analyst at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “If any bank is found to have attempted manipulation of the rate, it would be a huge problem.”

The Democratic Party of Japan plans Thursday to call on the banking lobby to explain how Tibor is set, lawmaker Tsutomu Okubo said Tuesday. The former Morgan Stanley banker is heading a panel examining financial firms.

The reference banks are responsible for submitting interbank offered rates to the association, which compiles and sets the benchmark lending rate, according to the lobby’s website.

Monex eyes Sony broker

KYODO

Online securities firm Monex Group Inc. will acquire and turn Sony Bank Securities Inc., a wholly owned online brokerage arm of Sony Bank, into a wholly owned unit and merge it with Monex Inc. this business year.

The planned acquisition, scheduled for Aug. 1, is aimed at broadening Monex’s customer base.