Jonathan Stempel, 31 March 2021
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Wednesday dismissed long-running litigation accusing 10 large banks of conspiring to suppress competition in the now $21.2 trillion market for U.S. Treasury securities.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan ruled against 21 pension, retirement and benefit funds, as well as unions, banks, individuals, and companies that traded in Treasuries, in the proposed antitrust class action.
The defendants included Bank of America, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, NatWest Group and UBS, as well as trading platform operator Tradeweb Markets.
Traders said the 10 banks, which from 2010 to 2014 handled an estimated 75% of Treasury trades through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, used chat rooms to swap confidential customer orders and coordinate strategies, to profit at clients’ expense.
They said seven of the banks also conspired to boycott electronic trading platforms that offered “anonymous” trading and better prices for clients.
Manipulation allegedly occurred in the “when-issued” market, or the period between when auction dates are announced and securities are delivered.