CFTC hits Goldman Sachs with $120 million fine over swaps benchmark rigging

Goldman Sachs is the third bank to settle with the CFTC over manipulating the ISDAFix swaps benchmark.

Goldman Sachs has been hit with a $120 million fine by the US derivatives watchdog over its involvement in manipulating a benchmark used for interest rate swaps.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) settled charges against Goldman Sachs that the bank had attempted to manipulate and made false reports concerning the US dollar ISDAFix benchmark between January 2007 and March 2012.

The CFTC Order stated that the unlawful conduct involved multiple traders, including the head of its interest rate products trading group in the US.

It is the latest penalty issued by the derivatives watchdog following the $250 million settlement with Citibank earlier this year over its alleged attempt to manipulate the benchmark, and a $115 million settlement with Barclays in 2015.

“This matter, the third enforcement action relating to the ISDAFIX benchmark, demonstrates the breadth of this kind of misconduct across the industry, and within Goldman, the extent of the misconduct across trading desks and product lines,” said Aitan Goelman, the CFTC’s director of enforcement.

He added: “the division will continue to be vigilant and aggressive in protecting the integrity of the ISDAFIX and other important benchmarks relied upon by the markets.”

The derivatives watchdog has racked up a total of $5.2 billion in penalties to banks and brokers over their roles in manipulating benchmarks.

Further fines could be expected for banks, after Citigroup stated in a regulatory filing that the CFTC has opened an investigation into the industry’s trading and clearing of interest rate swaps.