IOSCO to Consider LIBOR Reform

In the wake of a scandal over the rigging of LIBOR by Barclays and other British banks, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has created a task force to investigate how the widely used benchmark rate is used and recommend improvements.
The task force will be led by CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler of the US, and Financial Services Authority (FSA) Managing Director Martin Wheatley of the U.K.
“Benchmarks in use across global financial markets constitute the very foundation of free, fair and transparent market transactions, and doubts over their integrity and sound operation must be removed,” IOSCO Chairman Masamichi Kono said.
The task force will examine ways to address the conflict inherent in basing benchmark rates on bank submissions, including enforcement powers, inter-agency information sharing, and sanctions regimes.
The choice of Gensler to lead the task force highlights IOSCO’s commitment to serious change, as U.S. regulators have long criticized the way LIBOR is currently set.
While the task force’s report is expected early next year, Wheatley will publish a separate set of recommendations on September 28, reportedly including direct supervision of LIBOR, reducing the number of LIBOR rates, and the introduction of safeguards into how it is set.

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