The change was inevitable. The British Bankers Association has been kicked out as the controller of the London Interbank Offered Rate, better known as Libor, and replaced by NYSE Euronext Inc. (NYSE: NYX). Libor is the benchmark that dictates the interest rate on literally trillions of dollars in financial contracts, and when manipulation of the rate by some banks was exposed last year, well, someone or some institution had to pay.
Several banks have already paid about $2.5 billion in penalties to U.S. and U.K. regulators for their part in the rate manipulation.
NYSE Euronext itself is shortly to complete its sale to InterContinentalExchange Inc. (NYSE: ICE). The deal cost ICE about $10 billion in cash and stock and is awaiting final approval from regulators.
Can we expect a bit more transparency in the way that Libor is set? Probably not, but we should expect no less than a daily report that may disguise the actual banks involved, but that specifies the rates the banks claim they are paying. With so many eyes looking at those numbers, no bank is likely to risk cheating.