The Idea of 'Fixing' Libor Is a Myth

Sometimes modern finance has a great need for something, and so bankers invent products that appear to fill that need. When it turns out that the invention was actually something else entirely, people are shocked.

So it was a few years ago with senior tranches of asset-backed securities. Investors perceived a need for risk-free assets with floating rates, and Wall Street banks served up trillions of dollars worth of such paper — or at least they said they did.

So it is now with Libor — the London interbank offered rate — which not coincidentally was an important component of that other folly. That there was fraud based on made-up numbers is clear. That the system can be fixed is not.

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