Following the move by Singapore's central bank to censure 20 banks over alleged rate-rigging, industry participants warn the incident marks the demise of the 'old boys' club' banking culture that has dominated the city state in the past.
The development is the latest in a string of similar rate-rigging scandals to have scathed global investment banks in recent times, the first involving British bank Barclays in June last year, then later
Royal Bank of Scotland
(Read More: Singapore Punishes 20 Banks in Benchmark Rate Review)
Now Singapore-based bankers say the incidents have dramatically transformed banking culture in the country.
"All I can say is that at the Royal Bank of Scotland, the culture has been dramatically affected by this whole episode, and I'm sure it's not just us," said Gregg Gibbs, currency strategist at RBS, referring to other affected banks. "These events have changed the way banks think and act, every employee has been put on notice," he added.
On Friday, the results of a probe by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) censured 20 banks and highlighted 133 traders who have tried to inappropriately influence key borrowing and currency rates. Three quarters of the traders have been fired or resigned, the regulator said.
High profile banks including ING, Bank of America, together with Australian banks ANZ and Macquarie were implicated in the scandal. No fines were issued but the watchdog ordered the lenders to set aside additional reserves of $S12 billion ($9.5 billion) pending steps on how to improve internal reforms on benchmark setting. The money will be returned if the banks take the required remedial action.
Other banks censured included BNP Paribas, Bank of America, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, Barclays, Credit Suisse, DBS, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered. The regulator first began the review of benchmark borrowing rates nearly a year ago.