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Wheatley, Gensler to Head IOSCO Task Force on Benchmark Rates

The International Organization of Securities Commissions, which represents regulators in more than 100 countries, started a task force to investigate benchmarks such as Libor after allegations banks rigged the rate.

Financial Services Authority Managing Director Martin Wheatley and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler will oversee the group, which will develop global policy guidance and principles for the setting of such rates, Madrid-based IOSCO said in an e-mailed statement today.

“IOSCO is committed to taking necessary steps to prevent the manipulation of benchmarks and restore confidence in the use of those benchmarks in global financial markets,” the group said. “Doubts about the integrity and accuracy of benchmarks will undermine market confidence, distort the real economy, and potentially cause losses to investors and market participants.”

U.S. and European regulators are probing more than a dozen banks worldwide over allegations they manipulated the London interbank offered rate as well as its European and Japanese counterparts. Investigators are examining whether traders colluded to rig the rates for profit and whether banks understated their borrowing costs to appear healthier than they were.

Barclays Plc, Britain’s second-biggest lender by assets, was fined a record 290 million pounds ($470 million) in June for rigging Libor, the benchmark for more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide.

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