South Africa investigates seven banks for FX price fixing

May 21, 2015

These are BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Barclays, JP Morgan, Investec, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered.

Several global banks are being investigated by South Africa's Competition Commission for allegedly fixing foreign exchange trades.

These are BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Barclays, JP Morgan, Investec, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered, the Commission said in a press release seen by Reuters on Tuesday (May 19th).

Dealers at the banks are being accused of colluding to coordinate their trading activities when giving quotes to customers on trading in currency pairs involving the rand.

"This coordination has the effect of eliminating competition among the respondents, as it enabled them to charge an agreed price for a specific amount of currency," the Commission said.

Last year, regulators in the United States, Britain and Switzerland fined six banks a total of $4.3 billion (€3.8 billion) for failing to stop traders from trying to manipulate the foreign exchange market.

This investigation comes a few days after South African finance minister Nhlanhla Nene said that stakeholders in the financial sector need to "up their game". He added the country needs an ethical industry and that punitive measures must be instituted when ethics are not respected.

He added the National Treasury's new regulatory framework will now place as much emphasis on ensuring that financial institutions treat their customers fairly as on making sure that those institutions are solvent and liquid.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801788234-ADNFCR