ING Banking Unit Follows Competitors in Chat Room Ban

ING Groep NV, the biggest Dutch financial-services company, banned employees in its banking unit’s markets division from using multiparty chat rooms, following larger peers across the globe.

As a precautionary measure “ING has further tightened rules around the use of chat rooms,” Carolien van der Giessen, a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam-based company, said in an e-mailed response to questions today. Chat rooms with external parties can only take place on a bilateral basis, meaning ING with one bank, broker or client, she said.

Banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc have restricted the use of chat rooms as regulators examine messages for evidence traders manipulated currencies or benchmark rates. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is also banning traders from using chat rooms involving counterparts at more than one bank, while still allowing them to communicate one-on-one to discuss business, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

ING will make an exception for bond syndicates, allowing several legal entities to communicate in one chat room for the duration of a transaction, Van der Giessen said.

The Dutch central bank and financial markets regulator AFM started a “fact-finding investigation” into risks of manipulation of foreign-exchange, derivative and commodities markets among lenders, they said on Dec. 12. The probe was announced after Rabobank Groep, the second-biggest Dutch bank by assets, received a 774 million-euro ($1.06 billion) penalty in October for its involvement in rigging interest rates linked to the London interbank offered rate and Euribor.

Rabobank hasn’t taken steps to limit or ban the use of chat rooms by employees of its financial-markets division, Roelina Bolding, a spokeswoman for the Utrecht, Netherlands-based lender, said today. That is subject to change as the company reviews its operations, she said.

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