Hong Kong investigates HSBC, other banks for inappropriate market conduct

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hong Kong's de facto central bank said on Tuesday that its investigation into possible benchmark rate manipulation has been extended to include HSBC and a number of other banks.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced in December that it was investigating UBS about possible misconduct relating to its submissions for the Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (Hibor).

"Apart from UBS, the HKMA have since December 2012 followed up with a number of banks including HSBC (both local and international banks) to ascertain whether there have been any inappropriate market conducts in their benchmark rate submissions," HKMA said in a statement, adding that the investigation was ongoing.

The move is the latest announcement in a series of global investigations going on into benchmark rates following the discovery that some had been rigged, most notably Libor, the London interbank Offered Rate.

HSBC said it cannot comment on specific regulatory matters.

In its annual report released in March, the bank noted that it was subject to a number of regulatory proceedings on benchmark rate submissions in the UK, United States, Canada, the European Union, Switzerland and Asia.

Last week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that traders from 20 banks, including HSBC, had tried to inappropriately influence benchmark rates in Singapore.

"As home regulator of HSBC in Hong Kong, the HKMA has asked HSBC to promptly implement remedial measures and actions as required by the MAS," HKMA said.

The regulator added that so far in its investigation, it has reviewed millions of communication records and it hopes to conclude it as soon as is practicable.

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