ICAP Wins Dismissal of US Antitrust Suit Over Interest Rate Swaps

In 2015, 12 banks and two trading platforms settled similar allegations for credit default swaps.

A New York federal judge on Monday dismissed ICAP Capital Markets, which was rebranded last year to NEX Group, from a class action litigation alleging that the broker dealer and some US banks conspired to prevent the trading of interest rate swaps on electronic exchanges.

NEX Group welcomed the decision by the US Southern District of New York, saying that the plaintiffs did not provide evidence to support their claims which were, according to the company, “variously conclusory, insufficient to state a plausible claim, and inadequate to support an inference of participation in any wrongdoing.”

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The case is related to a pension fund’s antitrust lawsuit alleging that ICAP, Tradeweb and several banks blocked market participants from trading the instruments on exchanges to preserve their profits. As a result of this collusion, the suit alleges, two platforms and a dozen megabanks, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, were able to limit competition from non-banks in the lucrative $320 trillion market for interest rate swaps.

The suit alleged that since at least 2007 the banks “have jointly threatened, boycotted, coerced, and otherwise eliminated any entity or practice that had the potential to bring exchange trading to buyside investors. Defendants did this for one simple reason: to preserve an extraordinary profit center.”

In 2015, 12 of Wall Street’s biggest banks and two trading platforms settled similar allegations for another type of derivative known as credit default swaps by agreeing to pay nearly $2 billion.

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