(Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland Group's <RBS. L> markets division has banned the use of multi-dealer online chat rooms, joining rival banks that have taken similar action in response to regulatory scrutiny, Bloomberg reported late on Wednesday.
Chat rooms have been a focus for regulators investigating manipulation of the Libor and Euribor benchmark interest rates and possible rigging in the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.
Citing a person with direct knowledge of the plan, Bloomberg said permanent chat rooms with workers at other banks, bank entities or competitors had been prohibited, as well as those with clients, brokers and securities firms, unless certain criteria were met. (http://link.reuters.com/ruq55v)
RBS had also told trading staff at the division that internal chats should be limited to its own systems and used only for business purposes, Bloomberg added.
State-backed RBS could not be reached for comment outside regular business hours.
Sources told Reuters this week that JPMorgan Chase <JPM. N>, the biggest U. S. bank by assets, was planning to ban the use of multi-dealer online chat rooms and the use of such rooms among staff for social purposes.
Deutsche Bank <DBKGn. DE> had prohibited its foreign exchange and fixed income staff from using online chat rooms, and UBS <UBSN. VX> banned the use of multi-bank and social chat rooms at its investment banking division. Citigroup <C. N> and Barclays <BARC. L> had also clamped down, according to people familiar with the matter.
Traders at banks and financial institutions often communicate with each other online via third-party services including Bloomberg LP and Thomson Reuters <TRI. TO>.
(Reporting by Richa Naidu in Bangalore; Editing by Stephen Coates)