Rigged-benchmark probes span from Singapore to London

Crude Products

Platts, a data-pricing service owned by McGraw Hill Financial Inc., also is a target in the inquiry. The probe, which extends to undisclosed crude-derived products and biofuels, shows how some energy markets lack the transparency of stocks and U.S. corporate bonds. Royal Dutch, BP, Statoil, Neste and Platts have said they are cooperating. Neste said it’s not under investigation.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, competes globally with Thomson Reuters Corp., Icap, Platts and others by providing financial news, information and trading, including in foreign-exchange, interest-rate and energy markets.

Last week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said ING Groep NV, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS were among 20 banks at which 133 traders tried to manipulate the Singapore interbank offered rate, swap offered rates and currency benchmarks in the city-state, after reviewing the period from 2007 to 2011. The regulator will make rigging key rates a criminal offense and bring supervision under its oversight.

Benchmarks such as Sibor and Libor are calculated by asking firms to estimate how much it would cost to borrow from each other for different periods and in different currencies. ISDAfix is created in much the same way, by averaging bank submissions rather that actual trade data.

Estimate Survey

Singapore will be among the first countries to start using actual transactions rather than the survey of estimates in calculating benchmark rates.

“For the public on the outside who keeps reading about this stuff, it can be pretty unsettling,” said Manhattan College’s Geisst. “Every time something pops up it adds to the public disillusionment, which is pretty high right now.”

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