COMCO fines Swiss franc Spread cartel
Bern, 21.12.2016 - The Competition Commission (COMCO) has closed its investigation related to the bid-ask Spread on Swiss franc interest rate derivatives with an amicable settlement and imposes total fines of approximately CHF 5.4 million.
COMCO reached the conclusion that the four international banks Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and UBS operated a cartel on bid-ask Spread on Swiss franc interest rate derivatives between May and September 2007. These banks signed an amicable settlement, approved by the COMCO on December 5, 2016. COMCO imposed total fines of approximately CHF 5.4 million. UBS received full immunity for revealing the existence of the cartel to the COMCO. RBS and JPMorgan received reductions of their respective fines for cooperating with the investigation under the leniency programme. The individual fines amount to CHF 2.042 million for Credit Suisse, CHF 2.549 million for JPMorgan and CHF 0.856 million for RBS. With this decision, the proceeding Spread for Swiss franc interest rate derivatives is terminated.
COMCO’s investigation disclosed that between May and September 2007, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and UBS agreed to quote wider to third parties, fixed bid-ask spreads on certain categories of short term over-the-counter Swiss franc interest rate derivatives, whilst maintaining narrower spreads for trades amongst themselves.
Interest rate derivatives are financial products that are used by banks or companies for
managing the risk of interest rate fluctuations. The so-called "bid-ask spread" is the difference between the price at which a market maker is willing to sell and to buy a given product.
COMCO’s decision can be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court.
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