Lloyds' Global FX Chief Darren Coote Exits Amid FX Fixing Scandal for 'Personal Reasons'
Lloyds' Global FX Chief Darren Coote Exits Amid FX Fixing Scandal for 'Personal Reasons'

Lloyds Banking Group's global head of foreign exchange, Darren Coote, has left the bank amid the ongoing currency market manipulations involving a clutch of banks.

However, sources tell IBTimes UK that Coote is leaving "due to personal reasons which have nothing to do with the global investigations".

Lloyds told IBTimes UK: "It is Group policy that we do not comment on individual employees."

Last year, IBTimes UK exclusively revealed that a whistleblower alerted regulators in the US, UK and Switzerland in 2011 about some of the world's largest trading companies and banks manipulating benchmark sterling, US dollar and Swiss franc currency rates.

However, it was not until 2013 that these authorities started investigating the allegations of market rigging.

In November last year, Lloyds launched an "internal review" of FX trading at the group, after a raft of regulatory investigations into the potential manipulation of the currency markets hit the industry.

"We are aware that a number of regulatory and enforcement authorities are investigating foreign exchange trading and, as a result, we believe it is prudent to review our own foreign exchange trading over recent years and have commenced such a review," said Lloyds at the time.

Trader Suspensions and Exits

Since the launch of a number of investigations into FX market rigging, a number of traders have either been suspended or fired, amid the scandal.

Even the Bank of England suspended one official and confirmed that it stopped meeting a group of top London currency dealers last February following its internal review into allegations that it is involved in the foreign exchange fixing debacle.

Other reports have also surfaced over alleged market rigging.

In March this year, Lloyds allegedly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash after a senior foreign exchange dealer allegedly tipped off a counterpart at BP about a half a billion dollar currency deal.

According to reports, four unnamed sources said Lloyds found out that a dealer, Martin Chantree, alerted a trader at BP of the bumper FX swaps deal, which the bank was planning to execute regardless of market price movements at a certain time.

However, during the seven minutes before Lloyds began executing the trade at 10:53 GMT on 31 January 2013, the pound tumbled by 16 basis points against the dollar, costing the bank $750,000.

Sources said Chantree told fellow traders that maybe he shouldn't have shared the information.

Chantree has since been suspended.

BP has 200 traders which execute deals in energy, commodities and FX contracts. Although the group does not isolate trading unit profits in its financial results statement, in 2004 it revealed that it made $2bn in this business area alone.

The FX Market

The daily $5tn currency market is the largest in the financial system and is pegged to the value of funds, derivatives and financial products.

Morningstar estimates that $3.6tn in funds, including pension and savings accounts, track global indexes.

Lloyds has relatively small role in the FX markets, compared to leading banks Deutsche Bank and Citi, as industry statistics show it ranks 39th in the spot and currency-forwards business.