If it's not emails, it's instant messaging.
An instant-message group involving senior traders at banks including Barclays, Citigroup and Royal Bank of Scotland is being scrutinised by regulators investigating potential manipulation of the foreign-exchange market, four people with knowledge of the probe said.
Bloomberg reports that over a period of at least three years, the dealers exchanged messages through Bloomberg terminals outlining details of their positions and client orders, and made trades before key benchmarks were set, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the inquiries are continuing.
The roster of firms changed over time and included other banks such as UBS as the men switched employers, one of the people said. Two traders who weren’t involved in the conversations and who asked not to be identified because they do business with the people involved said that they and others in the market referred to the message group as 'The Cartel'.
Regulators are weighing whether those messages amounted to attempts to manipulate the market, two people said. The four banks account for more than 40% of trading in the $5.3 tril-a-day foreign-exchange market, according to a survey by Euromoney Institutional Investor.
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority this week opened a formal probe into currency trading, joining a global investigation that also involves regulators in the U.S., European Union and Switzerland.
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