Administering and providing information in relation to specified benchmarks
Administering and providing information in relation to specified benchmarks

The following Financial Services guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Administering and providing information in relation to specified benchmarks
  • Background to the regulated activities relating to benchmarks
  • Defining 'regulated benchmarks'
  • The business test and links to the UK
  • Specified activities and benchmarks
  • Providing information in relation to a specified benchmark
  • Administering a specified benchmark
  • Potential exclusions
  • Approach to regulating benchmarks
  • Proposed EU benchmarks regulation

Background to the regulated activities relating to benchmarks

The London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is a global benchmark for short term interest rates. The benchmark is often written into standard derivative and loan documentation and has increasingly been used for a range of retail products such as mortgages. As far back as 2005, there has been evidence of banks seeking to manipulate LIBOR (see the Financial Services Authority (FSA)'s final notice in relation to Barclays). Following numerous concerns about the way LIBOR was functioning, in 2009 the FSA, along with other overseas regulators, started to investigate a number of institutions for alleged misconduct relating to LIBOR, the Euro Inter-Bank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) and other benchmarks. As part of its response to these investigations, in July 2012, the UK Government established an independent review into the setting and usage of LIBOR. The review was led by Martin Wheatley, then managing director of the FSA and former CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The Wheatley Review identified a number of failings in the production and oversight of the process of determining LIBOR, which at the time was administered by the British Bankers' Association (BBA) and self-regulated by the BBA and contributing banks. In particular, the Wheatley Review noted that the conflicts of interest presented by self-regulation had clearly facilitated the conduct identified in the investigations. Consequently, a key recommendation of the Wheatley Review final report published in September 2012 was that the administration of, and submissions to, LIBOR should be regulated by statute and become regulated activities under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) Order 2001, SI