Royal Bank of Scotland Group could be nearing a multi-million pound settlement with UK regulators over its role in allegedly attempting to manipulate the global benchmark interest rate known as libor.
Multiple media reports, first coming from the BBC, suggest the state-owned back could reach a deal with the UK's Financial Services Authorities within the next two weeks, following a two year investigation, with the anticipation that the fine could be much larger than the £290m paid last year by rival Barclays.
Parallel to the negotiation of the fine are reports that two senior executives within RBS could be asked to leave the bank as a result of the investigation and settlement. The miscoundt was expeceted to have occured between 2007 and 2010. However, the BBC has reported that chief executive Stephen Hester, who replaced former boss Fred Goodwin in 2008, will not be fired.
The Financial Times reported Friday that RBS could use a portion of the money it has set aside for bonus payments to satisfy the libor settlement, while Sky News reported last month that the bank was planning to cap staff payouts at £2,000 each.
RBS shares rose 1.5 percent to 362.2 pence in London, after rising around 1.97 percent in the previous session. The shares have risen more than 66 percent over the past year, but are still well below the level at which the UK taxpayer can recoup the £45.5bn it paid to rescue the group during the peak of the global financial crisis in 2008.
RBS would be the third bank to reach an agreement over libor failings, after Barclays and Swiss bank UBS, which paid around $1.5bn to regulators in the UK, the United States and Switzerland last month. More than a dozen other global lenders are said to be under investigation.
Executives at the bank told UK lawmakers Thursday that it was "negligent" in policing the manipulation and expressed regret over their failures to stop it.
Hester told reporters in November that he would be "disappointed" if he wasn't able to draw a line under the libor scanal by the time the bank delivers its full-year earnings in February. Hester said it would be a "miserable day in RBS history" regardless of the size of the fine or the breadth of the bank's role in libor manipulation.
At least four former traders have been sacked by RBS for thier role in the rate-rigging and suspended its head of rates trading for Europe and Asia.
RBS has also set aside around $1.7bn to compensate customers who were mis-sold payment protection insurance and to small businesses mis-sold interest rate derivatives, the bank said in its third-quarter earnings statement. Collectively, the British banking industry will pay more than £11bn in total compensation for the two practices.