Counsel question Oz benchmark proceedings

Author: Brian Yap | Published: 19 Apr 2016

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (Asic) sweeping campaign against benchmark manipulation has been called into question.

Asic has filed court proceedings against ANZ, in March and Westpac, on April 5, for their alleged manipulation of the Bank-Bill Reference Rate (BBSW), which sets the price of interest-rate derivatives, commercial loans and deposits.

But counsel in Australia argue that evidence has yet to emerge that points to external manipulation of the BBSW by the two banks, which are members of the Australian Financial Markets Association (Afma).

"We don’t know whether the Afma-administered bank bill market was manipulated. At the moment, there is a question mark here which will be addressed in the proceedings," John Samaha, litigation partner at Allen & Overy.

The allegations date back to alleged manipulative activity on the BBSW between 2010 and 2012. This preceded...