On 7 April 2016 the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs voted on new rules about indices used as benchmarks in financial instruments and financial contracts. Benchmarks are indices such as interest rates on interbank loans in London (LIBOR) or in the euro zone (EURIBOR).
They are often used as references in financial and commercial contracts together with other benchmarks. These benchmarks, in order to serve their purpose, have to be seen as reliable and neutral. However, their daily value are often determined by the actions of big market players.
In December 2013, the European Commission fined eight banks a total of €1.7 billion for taking part in illegal cartels seeking to influence LIBOR and EURIBOR. The new regulation would introduce three benchmark categories with a strict regime for important benchmarks like LIBOR and EURIBOR. According to the agreed text, benchmark administrators shall be authorised by a competent authority or shall be registered, even if they provide only non-significant benchmarks. Data used to set the benchmark will be subject to quality standards.
Critical benchmark administrators would need to have a clear organisational structure to prevent conflicts of interest. The purpose of the stricter regulation is to ensure the full transparency of all benchmarks used in the EU.