How Barclays Bank Lost Its Head
Newsweek/The Daily Beast
July 9, 2012
Commentary by: Niall Ferguson, member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors
“Trader B: Who’s going to put my low fixings in? heh heh heh.
Submitter: [X or Y] will be here if you have any requests for the fixings.
Trader C: … Thank you for your help in the past few weeks.
Submitter: Done … for you, big boy.
Trader C: … When I retire and write a book about this business, your name will be written in golden letters …
Submitter: I would prefer this [to] not be in any book!
These exchanges between employees of the venerable British bank Barclays tell you much about the culture of the City of London on the eve of financial destruction. They come from emails dating back to 2005 and 2006, and they document the repeated efforts by the bank’s traders to get their colleagues to rig the interest rate known as LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate).”
Ferguson also delivered a series of lectures entitled “The Rule of Law and Its Enemies,” as part of the BBC’s storied Reith Lecture Series in June and July 2012.