'Stupid and venal' Libor riggers have tarnished the City, says Icap boss

 

One of the City’s biggest hitters Michael Spencer, founder and chief executive of the international broking giant Icap, today accused a handful of people of tarnishing the City through their Libor rigging antics.

Icap is being investigated by the Financial Services Authority and has suspended one member of staff and put another three on administrative leave.

Spencer said he could  not comment on the investigation or the individuals.

He also declined to say whether United States regulators were involved, if Icap was already in settlement negotiations, whether the firm had made provisions against any fines or speculate on how long the probe may take.

But he said: “I want to make another point very clear: if we determine  that there has been any wrongdoing by any of our employees we will not hesitate to take extremely firm action against them.”

He added: “Speaking personally I am shocked, disappointed and saddened at the revelations that have emerged about Libor in recent months.

“It is deeply regrettable that the apparently stupid and venal activities of a few individuals have tarnished the reputation of the thousands of hard-working and honest people who work in City and banking in general and do so much to support the British economy.

“I am pleased that the FSA and other regulators are investigating this thoroughly and rooting  out any wrongdoing so that the industry can in time move on and be the better for it.”

His comments came a day after Royal Bank of Scotland was fined £391 million for its role in Libor fixing by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Spencer said: “As I have said before, however, Icap is not a bank, it does not set or participate in setting Libor and has no financial incentive whatsoever in the level of Libor. I will say though that this is a matter we are taking extremely seriously. We are working with the FSA to understand exactly what has gone on.”

He said Icap had found no evidence that its brokers had been involved in so-called wash trades, that effectively cancel each other out but generate commission for the brokers.

Spencer said after a 13-per-cent fall in revenues in the final quarter of 2012 “there was a shaft of light in January, which we hope continues”.

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