UK regulator bans former broker over Libor ‘wash’ trades

May 29, 2019

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s markets regulator has banned Terry Farr, one of six former brokers unanimously acquitted by a London jury over their role in the Libor scandal, for dishonesty and lacking integrity over so-called “wash” trades.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Wednesday that Farr, a former Martins Broker employee, was not fit and proper to perform any job in financial services.

Wash trades are risk-free trades with the same party that cancel each other out, serve no legitimate purpose but generate brokerage payments.

Farr, a former manager on the Japanese yen desk at Martins, arranged nine such trades between September 2008 and August 2009, after persuading a UBS trader he could influence benchmark Libor (London interbank offered rate) interest rates.

Farr, who was aware that the wash trades were improper and sought to conceal them, earned almost 260,000 pounds ($328,000)for Martins from UBS and RBS, increasing the bonus pool available for Farr and the other brokers, the FCA said.

“There was no legitimate reason for Mr Farr to make these trades and his actions were motivated by greed,” said Mark Steward, the FCA’s head of enforcement.

“His actions mean he has no place in financial services.

Today’s ban reflects our commitment to making sure that people working in financial services act with integrity,” Steward added.

London-based Martins, which was rapped by the FCA in 2014 for its role in the Libor scandal and for having inadequate systems and controls, was dissolved in 2015.

The FCA had no immediate comment on whether it would pursue similar actions against the other five brokers prosecuted alongside Farr three years ago.

Libor rates help set borrowing costs for about $450 trillion of loans globally. Authorities have fined some of the world’s most powerful banks and brokerages around $9 billion over rate manipulation allegations and overhauled how benchmarks such as Libor are policed.

(Additional reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by David Holmes)

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