U.K. MP To Call on Government to Introduce FX Time-Stamps

British lawmaker Austin Mitchell will propose the government mandate time stamps for all currency transactions to minimize chances of overcharging customers.

Mitchell, a Labour Party member of Parliament for Grimsby in the north of England, wants to force banks to provide a record of the time they executed spot foreign-exchange trades. He plans to raise the issue in a parliamentary debate Tuesday.

“Without a time stamp associated to a currency trade, it is exceptionally difficult to link the prevailing market price to the claimed price of a trade,” Mitchell said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. That allows banks to “skim points” from their clients and falsify transactions, he said.

The debate comes as U.S. authorities investigate whether salespeople at some of the world’s largest banks overcharged clients by saying they executed currency orders at worse rates than they did and pocketed the difference.

The Department of Justice last year interviewed bankers about their “mark-up” practices amid a global probe into corruption in the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. It will probably bring charges early this year, according to the people.

Mitchell, 80, plans to retire from politics in March after 38 years in Parliament. He has been calling for the introduction of time stamps for more than two decades.

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