On the FX bank trade side of things today, we learned from Reuters that Commerzbank has suspended two foreign exchange traders. Commerzbank suspended two traders under suspicion of having tried to manipulate the Polish zloty’s euro exchange rate in regular trading, the bank said on Wednesday.
The two trader’s departures comes a day after Germany’s financial watchdog Bafin said it had clear evidence that market participants attempted to influence reference currency rates and widened an investigation to include many more banks. The German regulatory watchdog had made the 4pm fix investigation a top priority back in January.
At least one of the two suspended traders was based in Commerzbank’s Frankfurt headquarters. “We believe this incident was an isolated event and one from which the Bank and the individuals concerned in no way profited,” Commerzbank said in a statement.
The attempted manipulation took place in January and one of the traders was suspended in February, a spokesman for the bank said. Following an internal probe, a second trader was suspended in May, the spokesman said.
The bank has discovered no evidence of any other attempts at the bank to manipulate currency prices, he said. Internal controls had identified the attempted manipulation, the spokesman added.
No Bafin spokesman was available for comment on the matter.
Authorities in the United States, Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia are examining whether traders from different banks worked together to influence currency prices, but also whether they traded ahead of their own customers or failed to accurately represent to customers how they were determining the prices.
Regulators are looking at how traders deal with several key benchmarks, from interest rates to foreign exchange and commodities. Eight financial firms have been fined billions of dollars for manipulating reference interest rates, and the probe into the largely unregulated $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market could prove even costlier.
More than 30 foreign exchange traders worldwide have been suspended as part of the probes.
Commerzbank’s local rival Deutsche Bank, the world’s largest forex trading bank, has suspended several currency traders in North and South America.