Lloyds fire 8 staff over Libor rate-fixing scandal

Lloyds dismissed the staff members are part of disciplinary action. Picture: Hemedia

Lloyds dismissed the staff members are part of disciplinary action. Picture: Hemedia

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LLOYDS Banking Group has fired eight members of staff and withheld bonuses worth £3 million as part of disciplinary action in the wake of revelations about rate-fixing earlier this year.

The bank was fined a total of more than £200m in July by UK and American regulators for “serious misconduct” over the setting of Libor, the inter-bank lending rate.

Lloyds chairman Lord Blackwell said the actions of those responsible for the misconduct were “completely unacceptable”.

However, the group has been unable to take any action against a number of individuals who had left the bank prior to the regulators’ decision.

Lloyds was fined £105m by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), $105m (about £64.6) by America’s Commodity and Futures Trading Commission and a further $86m (about £52.9m) by the US Department of Justice.

As well as Libor, the bankers also manipulated the benchmark repo rate, which was used to calculate fees due to the Bank of England for its support during the ­financial crisis. Lloyds is 24.9 per cent owned by UK taxpayers.

Lloyds said it has shared all relevant information with the FCA, the City regulator, and other relevant authorities.

In July, Bank of England governor Mark Carney described the actions of Lloyds between 2006 and 2009 as “highly reprehensible, clearly unlawful and may amount to criminal conduct on the part of the individuals involved”.

Lloyds said unvested bonuses and long-term incentives totalling around £3m for the fired individuals will be forfeited.

Lord Blackwell said the significant reputational damage and financial cost to the group will also be reflected in the options considered in relation to other staff bonus payments.

He said: “The board has been clear that it views the actions of those responsible for the misconduct referred to in the settlements as being completely unacceptable.

“It is entirely right that the group undertook a prompt, independent and thorough disciplinary process immediately after the settlements were announced and has taken ­appropriate action as a result. A number of individuals have been dismissed.”

The Libor rigging took place between May 2006 and June 2009, with 16 individuals from Lloyds directly involved, seven of them managers – including one who was also involved in the repo misconduct.

The FCA’s fine of £105m included £70m for its attempts to rig the Special Liquidity Scheme, the taxpayer-backed scheme set up to support UK banks during the financial crisis.

The rest of the fine related to the manipulation of Libor, the London benchmark inter-bank lending rate. This is considered to be one of the most important interest rates in finance, upon which trillions of financial contracts rest, from loans to mortgages to derivatives.

Part of the Libor misconduct came after pressure from a manager over market perception of its financial stability during the financial crisis, the FCA found, as well as attempts to boost trading positions.

Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio said the bank had taken steps to prevent the same behaviour recurring.

He said: “The changes we have implemented over the last three years as part of our successful customer-focused and UK-­centric strategy have created a culture and values that focus totally on our retail and commercial customers.”

Lloyds also said it had shared the outcome of its disciplinary process with the FCA and other relevant authorities.

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