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UBS trader fights FCA Libor ban in court

UK-Currency-Money-Coin-Pounds-GBP-700x450.jpgPressure from bosses led a UBS trader to set the key Libor interest rate in favour of the bank’s commercial interests, a court has heard.

Lawyers for former trader Arif Hussein told the High Court yesterday that he was only acting in line with company policy when discussing submissions for the key benchmark, in an attempt to overturn the FCA’s decision to ban him from the industry.

“He was doing precisely what he believed he was expected to do,” the BBC quotes Hussein’s lawyer, Sara George of Stephenson Harwood, as saying. “There is no hint of subterfuge or dishonesty. This is a man who was doing his job diligently down to the very last minute.

“The [FCA] has failed to explain how a very junior trader, who had no other experience of financial services, no training, no guidance and no possible means of benefitting from a practice, should have known in 2008 and 2009 that it was obviously wrong for trading positions to be factored into Libor submissions.”

Hussein was the former head of UBS’s GBP Rates Desk. The FCA alleges that there were 21 times in 2009 when he communicated his preference or lack thereof to those who submitted the Libor rate.

The FCA evidenced the “chats” Hussein has with Adrian Keller, UBS’ Libor submitter, in court yesterday, claiming these provided indications of whether his trading positions would suffer or prosper from a move in Libor.

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Comments

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  1. Whilst I would in no way suggest ignorance of the law should be a protection, I think this in the article is key “The [FCA] has failed to explain how a very junior trader, who had no other experience of financial services, no training, no guidance and no possible means of benefitting from a practice”
    This implies Hussein was let down by his employer and it is those above him who should have been banned and he should simply have been retrained.
    It’s a bit like the Army’s training for the Geneva convention. Some of us knew right from wrong without the need for specific training, whilst the backgrounds for some of my peers was that the Army taight them right from wrong for the firs time in their lives. Once you’d all been trained to know the difference between a legal and an illegal order, if you faield to act accordingley, you would only have yourself to blame.
    If he truly wasn’t trained…. who is MORALLY to blame…. him or his superiors?

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