One of the remarkable aspects about this particular scandal is that yet again banks are being nailed by regulators for dumb things their traders said in chat rooms. FX traders at Citibank and the other banks used private electronic chat rooms to communicate and plan their attempts to manipulate the FX benchmark rates for certain currency pairs.2 Certain FX traders at Citibank regularly participated in numerous private chat rooms. The irony in this latest scandal, as Matt Levine points out at Bloomberg View, is that no one seems to know or care how much money the banks made manipulating the foreign currency market.
At times, in certain chat rooms, FX traders at Citibank and other banks disclosed confidential customer order information and trading positions, altered trading positions to accommodate the interests of the collective group, and agreed on trading strategies as part of an effort by the group to attempt to manipulate certain FX benchmark rates, in some cases downward and in some cases upward. They most famously helped regulators document the LIBOR scandal and also earned fines for Barclays after it discarded instant messages.
What people care about is that the traders in these chat rooms weren't playing by the rules. The nuts and bolts of the scandal are complicated, but basically the banks involved colluded to rig an important currencies benchmark in a $5.3 trillion market to boost their own profits.
Early last month, Goldman Sachs led a $66 million investment in Symphony Communication Service Holdings, a platform designed to centralize digital communications from texts to tweets for finance professionals.
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