Libor to FX Cases Drive Surge in Teamwork With Regulators

Britain’s financial markets regulator saw requests for assistance from agencies around the world jump 14 percent last year as investigations are increasingly global, according to a law firm study.

The Financial Conduct Authority received more than 1,000 requests for help in 2013 and nearly one in four came from the U.S., London-based law firm RPC LLP said based on data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act disclosure.

Regulators and prosecutors around the world are relying more on each other as they probe allegations that benchmarks including the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and foreign-exchange rates are being manipulated. They’re also resolving cases together, as seen with a number of joint settlements on Libor such as the 226 million-pound ($380 million) accord Lloyds Banking Group Plc reached with U.S. and U.K. authorities last month.

“As financial services become ever more globalized, regulators are finding that their work is increasingly turning up some sort of link to other countries,” Richard Burger, an RPC lawyer, said in the report. “Since the U.K. is a leading financial hub, the FCA is often an important port of call, whether that’s just to clarify a routine inquiry or for its input into more in-depth, complex matters.”

Chris Hamilton, a spokesman for the FCA, declined to comment on RPC’s report.

Joint resolutions haven’t been confined to the interbank offered rate probes. JPMorgan Chase & Co. entered into one of the most high-profile cross-border settlements last year with U.S. and U.K. authorities over a $6.2 billion trading loss caused by a banker dubbed the London Whale. The U.S. lender agreed to pay about $920 million in penalties to agencies including the FCA and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in the U.S.

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