Former LSE executive to lead Libor rival

LONDON Wed Oct 3, 2012 7:05am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - The London Stock Exchange's (LSE.L) former head of clearing has been hired to run a start-up company that plans to offer an alternative to Libor, the benchmark interest rate discredited by a rigging scandal.

Kevin Milne, who headed post-trade services at the LSE until June, has become chief executive of Rate Validation Services, a Singapore-based firm that provides benchmark rates to investment banks, the company said in a statement.

RVS said it offers an alternative method of setting the rates banks use to price billions of dollars of products, by basing the industry benchmark on the real rates that banks are using to price their trades.

Libor, which is meant to reflect the rates at which banks borrow from one another, was open to manipulation because it was based on bank estimates rather than the actual rates at which banks were doing business.

Multiple banks have been accused of trying to rig the lending rate. Barclays Plc (BARC.L) agreed to pay over $450 million to U.S. and British authorities in June to settle allegations it tried to move Libor to help its trading positions.

Britain's regulators are keen to reform Libor in the wake of the rate-rigging scandal while the British government sees fixing Libor as critical to restoring global confidence in London as a financial center.

"The system is broken and needs a complete overhaul," Martin Wheatley, head of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), told Reuters last week as the watchdog unveiled a 10-point plan to overhaul Libor.

The FSA plan includes oversight by a new panel from 2013. Until now, Libor rates have been set daily by the British Bankers Association (BBA) industry body on the basis of estimates submitted by global banks.

Reuters parent company Thomson Reuters Corp (TRI.TO) collects information from banks and uses it to calculate Libor rates according to specifications drawn up by the BBA.

Milne, who worked at settlement house Euroclear before joining the LSE in January 2010, has been hired by RVS partly to spearhead the growth of the company in Europe.

(Editing by Catherine Evans)

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