Case Spotlight: BARX Last Look antitrust class action similar to Forex case

 

 

 

 

 

 

CASE BACKGROUND

The antitrust litigation referred to as “BARX” alleges that Barclays participated in anticompetitive behavior to set the interest rate for FX instruments. This case shares many similarities to the Forex antitrust class action, especially since they involve manipulation of the FX market. FX Instruments are described as FX transactions in any deliverable or non-deliverable currency, including but not limited to FX spot, outright forwards, futures, non-deliverable forwards, FX swaps, options, and strategies, and any other instrument the trading of which is related in any way to FX rates.

The $50 million BARX settlement concerns the manipulation of certain FX transactions. It applies to investors who submitted a trade or trade instruction for an FX instrument to Barclays over the BARX platform to which Barclays applied Last Look practices. Such practices involved putting holds on foreign exchange orders that allowed the bank to determine if the price a customer sought to pay was outside a certain range. If that price was deemed unprofitable for Barclays, the bank allegedly entered a worse price or cancelled trades with little or no explanation.

The plaintiff alleges that Barclays acts as both a buyer and seller of currencies through its own proprietary electronic trading platform called BARX and through multi-party electronic communications networks (ECNs). Barclays allegedly promoted the prices it streams on these platforms as “executable.”  Therefore, the trades or trade instructions investors submitted to Barclays constituted offers to transact at those prices and, at the same time, as acceptances of Barclays’ outstanding unilateral offers to trade.  The alleged manipulation occurred when Barclays delayed the execution of such trades and determined during the delay period that the trade would be unfavorable to its own position, causing Barclays in turn to renege on the agreed price.

BARX BACKGROUND

Barclays is one of the largest currency dealers in the FX market. Barclays’ platform BARX is a multi-asset trading system that processes a very high volume of transactions. It was originally designed for FX trading, but is also used to trade in commodities, derivatives and several other types of asset.

DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY

Potential claimants must be either domiciled in the U.S. or had such trade or trade instruction routed over a Barclays server in the U.S. The settlement apples to “all persons who, between June 1, 2008 and April 21, 2016, submitted a trade or trade instruction for an FX Instrument (defined above) to Barclays over BARX (whether submitted on BARX or via an ECN or any other connection to BARX) to which Barclays applied Last Look, or as to which Barclays engaged in any other conduct that is the subject of a Released Claim and who were either (i) domiciled in the United States, or (ii) (a) domiciled outside the United States and (b) had such trade or trade instruction routed over a Barclays server in the United States.”

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