Plaintiffs in FX benchmark rate fixing case clarify motion for class certification

Maria Nikolova

This private antitrust case targets banks like JPMorgan, HSBC, Citi, Barclays and UBS that agreed “to eliminate competition in the purchase and sale of the EUR/USD currency pairs in the United States and elsewhere”.

While the disagreements around depositions in a Forex benchmark rate fixing case targeting major banks continue, the plaintiffs in the case have provided details on their proposed motion for class certification.

The lawsuit is a private antitrust case brought under Sections 4 and 16 of the Clayton Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 15, 26, alleging violation of Section of the 1 Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, in that it is alleged that the defendants, including banks like JPMorgan, HSBC, Citi, Barclays and UBS, agreed “to eliminate competition in the purchase and sale of the EUR/USD currency pairs in the United States and elsewhere”.

Each of the defendant banks confessed that they “eliminated competition in the purchase and sale of the EUR/USD currency pairs” and that their violations were in disregard of the law.

In a Letter, filed with the New York Southern District Court on February 7, 2020, the plaintiffs say that they are the representatives of the following designated class:

“All consumers and businesses in the United States who directly purchased supracompetitive foreign currency at Benchmark exchange rates from Defendants and their co-conspirators for their own end use at least since January 1, 2007 to [December 31, 2013]”.

The plaintiffs argue that their claims for class certification are compliant with the requirements.

For instance, Rule 23(a)(1) requires that “the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impractical.” Transactional data produced in this action, the plaintiffs say, demonstrates that there are thousands of end-user class members, who purchased foreign currency “for their own end use”, so the numerosity criterion is satisfied.

The plaintiffs also note that their class definition corresponds with commonality requirements. Rule 23(a)(2) requires that “there are questions of law or fact common to the class.” According to the plaintiffs, the alleged violation of antitrust law is a common issue capable of class-wide resolution. Plaintiffs’ expert will present generalized class-wide proof that the defendant banks’ conspiracy to fix and manipulate benchmark exchange rates resulted in the plaintiffs and the class paying higher prices for foreign exchange than they would have paid but for the defendants’ conspiracy to fix and manipulate benchmark exchange rates. Plaintiffs’ expert will provide an analysis of causation by preparing a regression analysis that shows a statistically significant correlation between the spot fix rate and the end user rate.

Regarding typicality, the plaintiffs argue that each class member’s claims and injuries arise from a common overarching conspiracy to fix and manipulate FX benchmark exchange rates that resulted in a common antitrust injury that “the manipulated FX benchmark rates were the primary component of the prices Plaintiffs and the class paid for foreign currency in the consumer retail market.”

Read this next


US and South Korea seek extradition of Luna founder Do Kwon

Both US and South Korean officials are seeking to extradite Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon, just hours after he was arrested in Montenegro.

Retail FX

Pepperstone UK doubles profit, client assets in 2022

The London-based entity of Australian FX broker Pepperstone has reported its financials for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022. The group had outperformed the last year’s flat performance, having doubled revenues and boosted the broker’s bottom line and shareholders’ fortunes.

Institutional FX

CLS FX volume rises to just shy of $2 trillion in February

Foreign exchange settlement provider, CLS Group saw strong volumes in February 2023 as the banking crisis continues to weigh on a world economy that’s yet to fully recover from the Russia-Ukraine war’s shocks.

Digital Assets

Binance restores trading after 2-hour outage

Binance suffered a breakdown on its trading engine that lasted for about two hours, but the premier cryptocurrency exchange finally managed to restore normal operations at around 14:00 UTC.

Digital Assets

Tether earns $700 million in Q1, taking excess reserves to $1.6 billion

Tether chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino said the world’s largest stablecoin issuer expects to earn more than $700 million in the January-Mach quarter, which will be added to the reserve backing its stablecoin (USDT).

Digital Assets

Narwhal Finance Secures $1M in Seed Funding Led by Animoca Ventures

Narwhal Finance received strong support from Animoca Ventures and angel investors in a $1 million seed funding round, reinforcing the company’s vision of providing an accessible platform to all.


SteelEye tries ChatGPT for market surveillance

This capability can be used as a starting point for initiating a surveillance investigation and to standardize workflow processes to boost the throughput and consistency of cases. It is also useful when analyzing communications in foreign languages, as the system returns the above insights in English regardless of the languages being used.

Industry News

SEC charges ex-Morgan Stanley advisor of NBA players after $13m fraud

Darryl Matthew Cohen was arrested this week and is facing three different federal counts of fraud, which could amount to 20 years in prison if convicted, besides the SEC complaint. 

Industry News

AWS FinTech Africa Accelerator launched, applications until April 27, 2023

Founders will be offered tech resources, expert guidance, and a global network of industry leaders, technologists, entrepreneurs, investors, associations, and partners, in order to build their fintech products.