Prinesha Naidoo
2 minute read
23 Feb 2017
10:47 pm

Standard Bank forex trader remains on the job

Prinesha Naidoo

Standard Bank said it learnt of the allegations on February 15, engaging with CompCom.

Standard Bank initially indicated that they plan on closing 91 branches, with 1200 employers potentially losing their jobs. Picture: Moneyweb

The Standard Bank trader alleged to have engaged in collusive practices to fix the price of the rand has not been suspended as the bank still seeks clarity on the accusations.

In a statement, the bank said it only learnt of the allegations on February 15 2017 – the same day that the Competition Commission lodged complaints with the Competition Tribunal against 18 institutions accused of unlawful conduct in the trading of the ZAR/USD currency pair.

According to Standard Bank, the Competition Commission initiated a complaint against its affiliate Standard New York Securities and 21 other institutions concerning the possible contravention of the Competition Act between 2007 and 2013. At the time, Standard Bank was not mentioned in the complaint.

“On 15 February 2017 the Competition Commission lodged five complaints with the Competition Tribunal against 18 institutions, including Standard Bank of South Africa and Standard New York Securities, in which it alleges unlawful collusion between those institutions in the trading of USD/ZAR. Standard Bank of South Africa only learned of the complaints at this time and is alleged to have been implicated in one, and Standard New York Securities in two, of the five complaints,” the bank said.

The complaint referral lodged by the Competition Commission with the Competition Tribunal also shows that the investigations date back to April 1 2015, when a complaint was laid against 11 banks including Standard New York Securities. As per the complaint referral the investigation was amended in August 31 2016 to include 12 more banks including Standard Bank.

Moneyweb is awaiting clarity from both the Competition Commission and Standard Bank regarding the discrepancies between the dates.

“Standard Bank of South Africa and Standard New York Securities are engaging with the Competition Commission to better understand the basis for the complaints and the appropriate response. Pending the outcome of these engagements and in the light of these historic allegations only having been brought to Standard Bank of South Africa’s attention on 15 February, no suspension of current employees of Standard Bank of South Africa has taken place,” Standard Bank said.

The complaint referral alleges that Standard Bank trader Bryn Brownrigg agreed to fix bid-offer spreads related to trade in the ZAR/USD currency pair.

The bank said it considers the allegations in an “extremely serious light”, affirmed its commitment to complying with regulations and said the allegations do not relate to the conduct of the group.

The Competition Commission said the conduct may amount to price fixing and recommended that administrative penalties amounting to 10% of Standard Bank’s annual turnover be imposed on the bank.

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