In 2016, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York brought the case against NAB and the other big four banks, as well as 32 other institutions, in relation to the bank bill swap rate (BBSW), the primary interest rate benchmark used in Australian financial market.
The class action also related to the trading of BBSW-based products.
According to the US claim, the defendants had made “hundreds of millions of dollars” in profits by “artificially fixing BBSW-based derivatives prices at levels that benefitted their trading books”.
While the claims against NAB have been dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, the bank stated, there remained a possibility that the dismissal could be reversed and the claims could be reinstated.
The bank has made the settlement, without admission of liability, although it remains subject to negotiation and the execution of complete settlement terms and court approval.
The settlement is being paid with provisions NAB had previously raised. The bank said its financial impact is “not substantial”.
Similarly, CBA and ANZ reached settlements for the class action in March.
Westpac signed agreements to settle two class actions against it in the US in relation to trading activity in the Australian BBSW market, in October last year.
A number of banks involved in the claim, including the big four, were also the subject of legal proceedings brought by ASIC alleging “unconscionable conduct and market manipulation in relation to… setting the bank bill swap reference rate”.
In November 2017, the Federal Court of Australia approved a settlement between ANZ and ASIC that required the major bank to pay a total of $50 million in charges.
In January 2018, ASIC began civil penalty proceedings against CBA for its alleged involvement in setting the BBSW between January and October 2012, which resulted in the major bank acknowledging that it “attempted to engage in unconscionable conduct” and paying $5 million as part of an in-principle settlement.
Sarah Simpkins is the news editor across Mortgage Business and The Adviser.
Previously, she reported on banking, financial services and wealth for InvestorDaily and ifa.