Justin O'Brien


The global investigations into the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) have raised significant questions about how conflicts of interest are managed for regulated entities contributing to benchmarks. An alternative framework, which brings the management of the rate process under direct regulatory supervision, is under consideration, coordinated by the International Organization of Securities Commissions taskforce. The articulation of global principles builds on a review commissioned by the British government that suggests rates calculated by submission can be reformed. This paper argues that this approach is predestined to fail, precisely because it ignores the lessons of history. In revisiting the initial framing for market conduct regulation, this paper illuminates the lost normative underpinnings of the disclosure paradigm. By exploring the shadows of the past, it provides an essential guide for how to fix the legitimacy crisis engendered by the Libor scandal.