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FCA calls time on Libor rates by the end of 2021

Most Libor rates will end in December, while a few US dollar rates will still be published until 2023.

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The City of London (John Walton/PA)

The City of London (John Walton/PA)

The City of London (John Walton/PA)

The method for setting the rates at which banks borrow money, Libor, is set to run out at the end of the year for most currencies, as the regulator called time on a system which proved open to abuse by bankers almost a decade ago.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that the publication of Libor rates for sterling, euro, Swiss francs and Japanese yen would end on December 31.

Some US dollar rates will still be published until June 30 2023, it added.

The FCA said that Libor was “unsustainable, and unsuitable for the widespread reliance that had been placed upon it”.

The authority’s chief executive Nikhil Rathi said: “Today’s announcements provide certainty on when the Libor panels will end.

“Publication of most of the Libor benchmarks will cease at the same time as the panels end. Market participants must now complete their transition plans.”

Libor is a system to figure out how much banks should pay to borrow money from other banks. It was a vital measure that for years partly underpinned the interest rates that mortgage lenders would pay.

The figure was released daily on an average of what 18 large banks anonymously said they were willing to pay to borrow.

However, in the early 2010s some banks had submitted false numbers that the average was calculated from, manipulating the price of Libor in order to benefit their trading arms.

The figures meant that Libor was set incorrectly by tiny amounts, but as the system underpins around 300 trillion dollars of contracts around the world (£217 trillion), it resulted in huge gains for some.

In 2012 Barclays paid a £290 million fine over Libor-rigging, while several bankers were sentenced to prison for their roles in the scandal.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, who announced the death of Libor when he was FCA boss, said on Friday: “Today’s announcements mark the final chapter in the process that began in 2017, to remove reliance on unsustainable Libor rates and build a more robust foundation for the financial system.

“With limited time remaining, my message to firms is clear – act now and complete your transition by the end of 2021.”

PA


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