Japan banking group says to review Tibor setting

TOKYO, March 14 Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:20am GMT

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TOKYO, March 14 (Reuters) - Japan's banking industry group said on Thursday it will set up a committee of banks and specialists to review the setting of Tokyo interbank offered rate (Tibor) amid global scrutiny into benchmark lending rates in the wake of a rigging scandal.

"We have not changed our view that Tibor's mechanism has no particular problem," said Yasuhiro Sato, chairman of the Japanese Bankers Association at a news conference.

"But given global moves to strengthen the governance of financial benchmarks, we are studying ways to enhance credibility and transparency of Tibor," said Sato, who is also CEO of Mizuho Financial Group, Japan's second-largest lender by assets.

More than a dozen banks and brokerages are being investigated by regulators and antitrust watchdogs worldwide for manipulating benchmark rates such as Libor and Euribor, which are used to underpin about $550 trillion of financial products from derivatives to mortgages and credit card loans.

The scandal has raised questions about how these benchmark rates are set, prompting global reviews. For Tibor, no case of rate manipulation has been found so far.

The Japanese Bankers Association said it plans to set up a committee made up of Tibor rate-submitting banks and some outside specialists in April.

Sato said it is too early to provide details of the scope of the review, but enhancing governance of rate submitting banks and the Tibor management entity -the association - is one of the key areas to be discussed by the committee.

Currently, 16 banks including major Japanese banks and BNP Paribas are reference banks for Japanese yen Tibor, and 15 banks including JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank submit rates for euro yen Tibor, according to the association's website. (Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Sanjev Miglani)

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