Regulator Goes After Westpac Bank

Westpac Banking CEO Brian Hartzer

Westpac Banking CEO Brian Hartzer

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has commenced legal proceedings against Westpac Banking Corporation for unconscionable conduct and market manipulation.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has brought the charges in relation to Westpac's involvement in setting the bank bill swap reference rate (BBSW) in the period 6 April 2010 and 6 June 2012.

The BBSW is the primary interest rate benchmark used in Australian financial markets, administered by the Australian Financial Markets Association (AFMA). On 27 September 2013, AFMA changed the method by which the BBSW is calculated. The conduct that the proceedings relate to occurred before the change in methodology.

Artificial Pricing

It is alleged that Westpac traded in a manner intended to create an artificial price for bank bills on 16 occasions during the period of 6 April 2010 and 6 June 2012.

ASIC alleges that on these days Westpac had a large number of products which were priced or valued off BBSW and that it traded in the bank bill market with the intention of moving the BBSW higher or lower. ASIC alleges that Westpac was seeking to maximise its profit or minimise its loss to the detriment of those holding opposite positions to Westpac's.

In response Westpac Banking has rejected the allegations and will be vigorously defending ASIC's court proceedings.

Second Case

On 4 March 2016, ASIC commenced legal proceedings in the Federal Court against the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) for BBSW conduct. Prior to filing against ANZ, ASIC's investigations into misconduct in the BBSW has seen ASIC accept enforceable undertakings from UBS-AG, BNP Paribas and the Royal Bank of Scotland. 


Compare my salary

Compare my salary

Feeling Underpaid? Benchmark your salary by job title, company and location. Find out where you stand in minutes.

compare my salary


Newsletter-SymbolFree Subscription

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive daily email alerts from the finews editorial team with a list of the top featured articles.

Share with us

Do you have any market intelligence to share with – email us on – All communication is completely confidential and strictly anonymous.