Westpac exec says some BBSW conversations questionable

Westpac traders could have been engaging in questionable activity when they said they would “f— the rate set” in reference to one of ‘s most important interest rates, a senior executive at the bank has told a court.

Westpac group treasurer Curt Zuber told the Federal Court on Wednesday some parts of the conversations between the banks traders that have been presented to court via transcripts and audio tapes were out of step with the bank’s current policies.

The n Securities and Investments Commission has accused Westpac of rigging the bank bill swap rate, a rate used to set rates on business loans rates and other financial products, to benefit itself and to the detriment of its customers.

Lawyer for ASIC Philip Crutchfield on Wednesday asked Mr Zuber whether he would agree top trader Colin Roden’s saying “I’m going to f—- the rate set” would indicate possible suspicious activity that could indicate the rate was being manipulated.

“I would agree with that,” Mr Zuber, one of Westpac’s most senior executives, said.

Mr Zuber also agreed that in some conversations between Westpac financial markets trader Adam Parker and treasury trader Sophie Johnson, Mr Parker had asked for information that would have breached Westpac’s Chinese walls. He said on other occasions the conversations were just about the market in general.

Westpac group treasury department was the most dominant trader in the BBSW market at the time and as such its trading intentions highly valuable information.

Mr Crutchfield challenged Mr Zuber on his denial, saying: “Mr Zuber, as night follows day Mr Roden would not tell anyone at ANZ about where the rate would be set.”

Mr Zuber replied: “This is part of the dealing of two professionals in the market place.”

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