Shhh… Don’t Tell Anyone; Central Banks Manipulate Rates
by Tyler Durden
David Zervos, Jefferies: Shhh… Don’t Tell Anyone; Central Banks Manipulate Rates
It should come as no surprise to anyone that major commercial banks manipulate Libor submissions for their own benefit. The OTC derivatives markets was designed by the big banks, for the big banks, to ensure that as they set up their own private securities exchanges – away from regulatory scrutiny – they could control the interest rate settings. Money center commercial banks did not want the “truth” of market prices to determine their loan rates. Rather, they wanted an oligopolistically controlled subjective survey rate to be the basis for their lending businesses.
To that end, if there was a big reset for a specific bank on a given trading day, and a lower rate suited, said bank would surely shade its Libor submission lower. And then of course there were the far more unscrupulous submitters who tried to influence where other banks might post rates on a given day (for a bottle of Bolly or for a quid pro quo at a future date). When there are only 16 players – a “gentlemen’s agreement” is relatively easy to formulate. That is the way business has been transacted in the broader OTC lending markets for nearly 30 years. It is impressive that it took this long for the regulators to actually realize what a complete shame the entire structure really is.