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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Webster

Banking Culture

Barclays £59.5m fine rests on two aspects of Libor “fixing”:

  1. Profit. As Trader B explains: “I really need a very very low 3m fixing on Monday – preferably we get kicked out. We have about 80 yards fixing for the desk and each 0.1 lower in the fix is a huge help for us. So 4.90 or lower would be fantastic”. And

  2. Perception. “just set it where everyone else sets it, we do not want to be standing out”. What’s to blame? Apparently “Culture”. But maybe, just maybe, there is a little more to it than meets the eye. Knowing the difference between what is right and what is wrong and then applying it is critical. In this way nefarious behaviour by dealers, operations and management is less likely. How and why has this been forgotten? Furthermore segregation helps combat bad behaviour and fraud. Does it need re-enforcement? There’s a word for all this it’s “competence”. Perhaps it’s been overlooked. But that’s not all. Bad things will happen. In banking, money has changed personal behaviour – not always for the better.  It's time the personal risk/reward ratio was recalibrated. How quickly could that change culture? With the CEO out and the SFO in we may be about to find out.

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