UBS in global talks over Libor settlement

UBS faces fine of over $500m, sources say.

Story highlights

  • UBS will settle for record fine over involvement in Libor scandal, sources say
  • The benchmark interest rate underpins $500tn worth of financial contracts worldwide
  • So far, regulators have probed 20 financial institutions over alleged involvement in rigging rates
  • UBS recently announced plans to scale back its investment banking business and cut 10,000 jobs

UBS is in global talks to reach a settlement of more than $450m over the alleged manipulation of Libor, putting the Swiss bank on track for a record fine in the wide-reaching rate-rigging scandal.

Switzerland's largest bank by assets has started settlement talks in the past 10 days and is hoping to come to an agreement with authorities in its home country, the UK and the US before the end of the year, said two people familiar with those discussions.

These people added that the proposed fine would be higher than $450m, which is what Barclays paid in the summer in the first settlement of a global bank over Libor. A third source close to the talks said UBS's fine would likely be higher than $500m.

Regulators around the world have been probing as many as 20 financial institutions over the alleged rigging of several benchmark interest rates that underpin $500tn of contracts worldwide, from mortgages to complex derivatives.

The Swiss bank said: "UBS has been co-operating fully with the regulatory and enforcement authorities in connection with Libor investigations. As we are in the midst of discussions with those authorities, we cannot comment further." It declined to comment on the details of these discussions.

UBS has co-operated with the authorities from an early stage and has received conditional immunity and leniency on antitrust issues in several jurisdictions, according to previous regulatory filings.

A settlement this year would enable UBS's chief executive Sergio Ermotti and its new chairman Axel Weber to leave most of the bank's legacy issues behind them.

The bank last month received a £29.7m fine from the UK's Financial Services Authority for serious control failings in connection with a rogue trading scandal.

In October, the bank announced plans to drastically scale back its investment bank and shed 10,000 jobs.

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