State Street Told U.K. Spot-FX Head to Avoid Office: WSJ

State Street Corp. told Simon Pepper, its London head of spot foreign-exchange trading, to stay away from the office after an internal review of its currency business, the Wall Street Journal said today.

Pepper has been away for two weeks, the newspaper said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

“One member of our foreign exchange trading staff in the U.K. is currently out of the office,” Carolyn Cichon, a State Street spokeswoman, said. “We cannot comment on any additional details at this time. All discussions involving employees are confidential.”

The move comes as authorities probe allegations that currency dealers have been front-running client orders and attempting to rig the benchmark WM/Reuters rates by colluding with counterparts and pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set. The data are collected and distributed by World Markets Co., a unit of Boston-based State Street Corp., and Thomson Reuters Corp.

Pepper didn’t immediately respond to e-mails seeking comment and his phone number wasn’t available through London phone directories. Colleagues on the State Street desk said they didn’t know when he might return.

Pepper, who joined the Boston-based bank in July 2004, is still listed as active on the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority’s register.

More than 25 traders have been fired, suspended or put on leave since the investigations began last year.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, competes with Thomson Reuters in providing news and information as well as currency-trading systems.

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