BOE’s Tucker Says He Encouraged Banks to Push for Libor Review

Bank of England Deputy Governor Paul Tucker said he pushed Barclays Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to press the British Bankers’ Association to carry out a wider review of Libor in 2008.

“Have spoken to HSBC and RBS,” Tucker wrote in an e-mail to Barclays Chief Executive Officer Robert Diamond sent on May 28, 2008 and released to lawmakers today. “Sense similar across all three of you. I encouraged contact among Mark Dearlove peer group,” he said, referring to to the head of Barclays’s money-market desk responsible for the bank’s contributions to the London interbank offered rate.

Tucker told members of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee today that the e-mail referred to the review carried out by the BBA, the lobby group that oversees Libor, in 2008 after the Bank for International Settlements queried the benchmark’s reliability as a gauge of actual borrowing costs.

“We wanted to give the BBA the message that they shouldn’t just do their normal annual review of Libor but do a much broader, global consultation of Libor and its governance,” Tucker told lawmakers. “We decided to say to the banks that this broader review shouldn’t be conducted at the level of the normal committee, which is desk level, but should be more senior. I called roughly the number two’s and number three’s at all the big sterling banks to say that.”

After the 2008 review, the BBA increased the number of banks on the dollar Libor panel to 20 from 16. Four firms have since quit the panel. Lenders were also asked to justify any discrepancies between their submissions and those of their competitors.

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