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Deutsche Bank bans online chats for FX and fixed income staff

The headquarters of Deutsche Bank are pictured in Frankfurt Octoeber 29, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
The headquarters of Deutsche Bank are pictured in Frankfurt Octoeber 29, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank has prohibited its foreign exchange and fixed income staff from using online chatrooms, joining a growing band of lenders who have halted the use of such forums over concerns of mounting scrutiny from regulators.

Chat rooms have been a focus for regulators investigating manipulation of benchmark interest rates and possible rigging in the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market.

"We have banned the use of multi-party chatrooms in FX (foreign exchange) trading already in the first quarter, and we have extended this ban to other parts of our fixed income business", a Deutsche Bank spokesman said on Wednesday.

Last week, UBS issued a memo to staff banning the use of multibank and social chat rooms at its investment banking division.

Citigroup and Barclays have also clamped down on chatroom use, according to people familiar with the matter.

Citigroup and Barclays declined to comment.

Chat communications featured prominently in a five-year probe into manipulation of a key interest rate known as the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, which has so far seen five financial firms pay more than $3.5 billion in penalties.

In a global probe into possible currency manipulation, regulators are scrutinizing messages between traders for alleged evidence that they worked together improperly to influence currency "fixes" - the daily snapshots of trading used by companies and portfolio managers for valuing their assets.

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Alexander Huebner. Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Louise Heavens)

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