FX Traders Said to Be Called For Interviews by U.K. Regulator

Foreign-exchange traders were asked to come in for interviews by the U.K. markets regulator as the probe into currency-rigging widens, two people with knowledge of the investigation said.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has written and called the traders in recent weeks, inviting them to voluntarily discuss the probe, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the probe is confidential. The individuals are among at least 40 traders whose communications are being examined by the regulator, one of the people said.

Regulators in the U.K., Switzerland, the U.S. and Asia are probing allegations of rate-rigging in the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market. Dealers in the industry were front-running client orders and attempting to rig the benchmark WM/Reuters rate by colluding with counterparts and pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set, Bloomberg News reported in June.

Chris Hamilton, a spokesman for the FCA based in London, declined to comment.

At least 12 traders have been suspended over the probe and about 11 banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc, have said they’ve been contacted by regulators. A number of banks have also announced their own internal reviews.

“We will come down very severely on anyone who we discover is breaking the rules,” Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan told reporters on a conference call earlier this month, discussing the probe.

RBS has suspended two London-based foreign-exchange traders as part of its internal probe, and handed over the communications of a former senior trader to the regulators, a person with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month.

Regulators around the world are examining alleged abuses of a number of financial benchmarks by companies that play a central role in setting them after it emerged the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, the benchmark interest rate for more than $360 trillion of securities worldwide, was being manipulated.

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