Swiss probe seven banks on metals price fixing

Last year Swiss financial regulator Finma said it had found a “clear attempt” to manipulate precious metals price benchmarks

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The Independent Online

Another scandal is brewing in the banking industry: Swiss competition officials opened an investigation into possible fixing of precious metal markets by seven major banks yesterday.

Switzerland’s Weko watchdog said its investigation was looking at possible collusion in setting the so-called bid ask spread – the difference between the highest price that a buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price for which a seller is willing to sell – by UBS, Julius Baer, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Mitsui. The metals are gold, silver, platinum and palladium.

The watchdog said it “has indications that possible prohibited competitive agreements in the trading of precious metals were agreed” among the banks mentioned. 

Last year Swiss financial regulator Finma said it had found a “clear attempt” to manipulate precious metals price benchmarks during an investigation into trading at UBS. In May. four major banks pleaded guilty to trying to manipulate foreign exchange rates and, with two others, were fined nearly $6bn (£3.9bn).

UBS, Barclays and HSBC declined to comment, In 2014, Barclays was fined £26m for failings around the setting of the daily fix for the gold price.

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