Court approves ANZ's $50m settlement

Australian banks ANZ and NAB will pay a collective $100 million dollar penalty for their involvement in the rigging of overnight bank bill swap rates. ANZ has acknowledged episodes of misconduct while also admitting its lack of adequate policies and systems in place to monitor trading and communications of its BBSW traders.

Under the terms of the settlement with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), ANZ agreed to a A$10 million penalty, a payment of A$20 million to a consumer protection fund and a A$20 million payment toward the regulator's costs. This will see the appointment of an independent expert that will be reviewing controls, policies, training, and monitoring of BBSW trading to ensure proper compliance.

"We know our customers and the community expect better from us and we apologise for both the attempted unconscionable conduct and our inability to prevent or detect the behaviour", ANZ Chief Risk Officer Nigel Williams said in a statement. For its part, ANZ had already been undertaking a series of sweeping changes in the way it manages its Markets business since 2015.

The regulator launched legal action against the three banks previous year, alleging the banks used products priced or valued off the primary interest-rate benchmark to maximize profits or minimize losses. There are no claims of collusion against any of the banks. After eliminating the highest and lowest, the Australian Financial Markets Association calculated the mean of the rest.

The case against Westpac, which has denied the allegations, began in the federal court in Melbourne on October 31 and continues.

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