The Case

Background

  • The Foreign Exchange Market (Forex or FX) is a decentralised and widely unregulated market for every type of OTC currency-trading. It has an average daily turnover of $5.3 trillion and is by far the largest financial market in the world.

  • Whereas the prices for each currency develop through the average prices of all transactions, they are calculated on a fix level once a day. The 2 most commonly used Fixes are the WM/Reuters 4pm London fix and the 1:15pm European Central Bank

  • Between 2003 and 2013: traders of major investment banks manipulated exchange rates and causeda total estimated damage (most conservative estimate according to experts) of $5.3 billion.
  • Organised through several online chat rooms (e.g. Reuters Messenger, Bloomberg Chats) they used names like the players, the 3 musketeers, 1 team, 1 dream and the A-team and techniques like Front Running, Banging the Close and Painting the Screen to use sensitive information of orders of their clients before and around the fixes to move the price into the direction of their own favour and causing damages to their clients.

U.S. Settlement

On 15 December 2015 nine banks (e.g. Barclays Bank PLC, Bank of America N.A., BNP Paribas, Cititbank N.A., Goldman Sachs & Co., JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., HSBC Bank PLC, RBS PLC and UBS AG) agreed to a settlement with US investors who are affected by rigged foreign exchange rates.

  • Municipalities (e.g. City of Philadelphia)                     
  • Pensions and Retirement Funds (e.g. State-Boston Retirement System)
  • A number of individual victims

Distribution Plan:

  • De Minimis Payment of $10
  • Automatic Payment of $250
  • Pro Rata Share Payment up to the sum of $ 500,000

Victims in Europe

    • Private Investors

Foreign-Currency-Loans

Investments in FX-linked structured bonds

    • Institutional Investors and Corporations

Hedging against currency risks of cash flows

Valuation of assets and liabilities in foreign currencies

Investments in FX-linked structured bonds

Speculative option businesses to optimize portfolio and to generate 

additional revenues

    • Municipalities

Cross-Currency Swaps and Cross-Border-Leasing to optimize debt management

Funding of public infrastructure projects 

Investments in FX-linked structured bonds