The British Bankers’ Association, the century-old lobby group that oversees the London interbank offered rate, named Anthony Browne, a government relations executive at Morgan Stanley (MS:US), as chief executive officer.
Browne, a former adviser to London Mayor Boris Johnson and an ex-journalist, replaces Angela Knight on Sept. 1, the BBA said in a statement today. Knight said in April she would step down after five years as CEO.
“This continues to be a time of change and reform for the banking industry and Anthony brings with him a range of skills and experiences to lead the organization in facing the challenges arising,” Marcus Agius, chairman of the BBA and Barclays Plc (BARC), said in the statement.
Browne joins the London-based BBA as regulators worldwide probe whether banks rigged Libor, the benchmark for $360 trillion of securities. The group said in March a panel of lenders will review how the figure is calculated amid criticism from executives such as Tullett Prebon Plc (TLPR) CEO Terry Smith that banks shouldn’t be left to police the rate.
Browne, who was selected by a nomination committee with Agius as chairman and made up of representatives from Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY), BNP Paribas SA and Citigroup Inc., has been head of government relations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Morgan Stanley in London for the past six months. Before that, he was an adviser to the London Mayor on economic and business policy, the BBA statement said in the statement.
“It will be an honor to lead the BBA, helping to resolve the complex issues still surrounding banking five years after the start of the financial crisis,” Browne said in the statement. “We need to continue to lead on reform, ensuring the banking sector meets the needs and expectations of our customers and shareholders, and can play its pivotal role in returning the U.K. to economic growth.”
Knight, 61, is stepping down to become CEO of Energy U.K., which lobbies on behalf of the energy industry. The former Conservative party lawmaker became a figurehead for the industry as the state took control of Northern Rock Plc and bailed out Royal Bank of Scotland Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc during the financial crisis of 2008.
Libor is generated through a daily survey of banks conducted on behalf of the BBA by Thomson Reuters Corp. (TRI) in which firms are asked how much it would cost them to borrow from one another for 15 time periods, from overnight to one year. A predetermined number of quotes are excluded and those left are averaged and published for individual currencies before noon.
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Questions about the accuracy of Libor were first raised by the Bank for International Settlements in a March 2008 report that indicated lenders were “wary of revealing” information that could signal they were struggling to borrow funds during the global credit crunch.
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