Switzerland’s central bank announces support for efforts to find Libor alternatives

swiss national bankOn Thursday, the Swiss National Bank announced its support for worldwide efforts to find alternatives to Libor, the key benchmark rate involved in the recent global rate-rigging scandal.

Dewet Moser, a deputy member of the SNB’s governing board, said that while Libor manipulation did not hinder the implementation of the central bank’s monetary policy, the SNB is interested in finding alternatives to the rate, the credibility of which has been called into question following news of the scandal, Reuters reports.

“The SNB has long been aware of the vagaries of panel-based reference rates,” Moser said, according to Reuters.

Though the SNB launched its own set of reference rates in 2009, Libor is still the most commonly used reference rate among Swiss companies.

Other banks and associations have also indicated that central banks should seek out Libor alternatives in favor of reference rates based on actual market transaction data.

“Even if regulators and central banks become more active in the future, this doesn’t change the fact that it is primarily up to market participants to restore and anchor the credibility and integrity of Libor fixing,” Moser said, Reuters reports.

The SNB gradually reduced its target for three-month Swiss franc Libor to zero to 0.25 percent in 2008 during the time the alleged rate-rigging took place. Since 2011, the SNB’s policy has focused on preserving a cap on the franc at 1.20 per euro, which was implemented to prevent deflation and economic downturn.

“The implementation of monetary policy is geared to securing the minimum exchange rate,” Moser said, according to Reuters. “That will also stay that way for the foreseeable future.”

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