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Exclusive: BBA Members Back Libor Handover

(c) Sky News 2013

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) today moved a step closer to relinquishing its role in setting interbank borrowing rates as regulators seek to restore their credibility following the Libor scandal.

I have learnt that the banking industry trade body held an extraordinary general meeting this morning to approve a rule-change that will enable it to hand over ownership of Libor following a tender process that could last for much of this year.

Baroness Hogg, a member of the Treasury's board, is overseeing the moves to select a new party to administer the Libor-setting regime. Few details have emerged about the process, despite a pledge by the Treasury to publish information about it.

In a statement confirming the move, a BBA spokesman told Sky News: "An Extraordinary General Meeting of BBA members has given its formal approval to the Board to deliver the transfer of BBA Libor to a new operator which will be selected by the Hogg Committee.

"The absolute priority is to ensure the provision of a reliable benchmark which has the confidence and support of all users, contributors and global regulators."

Baroness Hogg's appointment followed a report last autumn by Martin Wheatley, Britain's new chief financial conduct regulator, which said that stripping the BBA of its role was vital to restore trust in Libor and other benchmark rates.

Mr Wheatley's inquiry came in the wake of Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) ' £291m fine for rate-rigging, since when UBS (Berlin: UBRA.BE - news) and Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L - news) have also been fined heavily for their roles in what authorities say was an international conspiracy.

Today's EGM at the BBA's offices in the City was a legal technicality, but an important one, according to insiders.

The motion to hand over control of Libor, already approved by the BBA governing council last year, was passed unanimously, according to people familiar with this morning's EGM.

Bloomberg is among the organisations which have expressed an interest in taking on the Libor-setting role.