In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation

Updated: August 8, 2018

Status: Ongoing Case

Labaton Sucharow serves as class counsel, representing Boston Retirement System in this action concerning alleged anticompetitive conduct in the foreign currency exchange (FX) market. To date, the case has recovered more than $2.3 billion in partial class action settlements with defendants Barclays, Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, Standard Chartered, Societe Generale, RBS, and UBS. The Court recently granted final approval to these settlements. We also serve as allocation counsel, assisting co-lead counsel in determining the best way to allocate settlement funds to class members.

This case involves allegations of anticompetitive conduct by the major dealer banks, including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, HSBC, JPMorgan, RBS, and UBS, to manipulate a key group of FX rates for various currencies. The severity of these allegations is underlined by the frequent use of these rates as industry-wide benchmarks in a variety of financial instruments and transactions involving the exchange of one currency for another. On a daily basis, the FX market turns over approximately $5 trillion in various currencies.

The claims center on collusion among several major FX dealers to artificially set certain key FX rates in order to enhance their profits and reduce the value of their customers’ FX transactions. The dealers are alleged to have coordinated their trading strategies through the use of online, electronic chat-rooms where they discussed client orders and aligned their trading strategies in order to effectuate the manipulation of the FX benchmarks.

The alleged conduct has also attracted the attention of antitrust and other government enforcement agencies around the world. In the United States, the Department of Justice and the FBI have opened a criminal investigation into alleged anticompetitive conduct in the FX market. Parallel investigations by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) have also commenced. Overseas, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, the European Commission, and other governmental and regulatory authorities are also investigating alleged anticompetitive conduct in the FX market.

The plaintiffs are proceeding through discovery against the remaining defendant. 

The case is In re Foreign Exchange Benchmark Rates Antitrust Litigation, No. 13-cv-07789 (S.D.N.Y.). The plaintiffs are Aureus Currency Fund LP; City of Philadelphia, Board of Pensions and Retirement; Employees' Retirement System of the Government of the Virgin Islands; Employees' Retirement System of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority; Fresno County Employees' Retirement Association; Haverhill Retirement System; Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System; Boston Retirement System; Syena Global Emerging Markets Funds LP; Tiberius OC Fund, Ltd.; Value Recovery Fund LLC; and United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Participating Food Industry Employers Tri-State Pension Fund. Labaton Sucharow represents Boston Retirement Systems. The defendants are major dealer banks