Archive for the ‘FSA views & reports’ Category

Regulator fines Aviva Investors £18m for control failures / Mait

24/02/2015. | This post has no Comments

The Financial Conduct Authority has hit Aviva Investors with its second largest fine on record for a UK asset manager after finding the group’s traders manipulated deals to boost their fees at the expense of customers.

The watchdog on Tuesday issued the fund management arm of Aviva, the FTSE 100 insurance and investment group, with an £18m penalty for failing to prevent an “abusive practice” known as cherry-picking for as long as eight years.

The punishment comes as the UK’s £5tn asset management industry attracts increasing scrutiny from regulators. Just last week, the FCA warned the sector was not doing enough to guard against potential insider trading and market abuse.

It forms part of a campaign by the authority to ensure financial services professionals put the interests of their clients first. In issuing the penalty on Aviva, the FCA said that ensuring asset managers manage potential conflicts of interest effectively would “continue to be an area of focus” for the regulator.

The watchdog said the failings arose as the same trading desks at Aviva Investors, which manages almost £240bn worth of assets, handled multiple funds that charged varying levels of fees.

Traders were presiding over assets for external hedge funds — which Aviva charged fees of up to 20 per cent — as well as the company’s own life insurance policyholders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Instead of booking bond trades immediately to a particular fund, they would wait to see how the positions performed — and then allocate them to the funds depending on their performance fees.

For instance, the FCA said, a trader could buy a security in the morning intending to allocate it to a hedge fund, but six hours later, after seeing it fall in value, allocate it instead to another fund that charged low or no fees.

The practices would allow the traders involved to benefit financially, as they would receive a cut of the charges.

Full story >

Four Charged for in U.K. FSA Insider-Trading Probe / Martin

02/12/2012. | This post has no Comments

Former Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) managing director Martyn Dodgson was among four people charged with insider trading by U.K. authorities after an investigation spanning two-and-a-half years.

Dodgson, who was employed by Deutsche Bank at the time of his arrest in March 2010, as well as Andrew Hind, Benjamin Anderson and Iraj Parvizi were charged with “conspiracy to insider deal” between Nov. 1, 2006, and March 23, 2010, the Financial Services Authority said today in an e-mailed statement. The agency alleges the men made more than 3 million pounds ($4.8 million) on improper trades.

The charges stem from an investigation into the front- running of block trades, known as Operation Tabernula, Latin for little tavern. The FSA arrested seven people and raided 16 addresses in London and southeast England in March 2010 as part of the crackdown. Two more arrests came later.

The men were all released on bail and must appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on Oct. 19.

(more…)

Investment banker, his wife and family friend plead guilty to insider dealing / Ahto

11/01/2011. | This post has 1 Comment

Christian Littlewood, a senior investment banker and former Financial Services Authority (FSA) Approved Person, his wife Angie Littlewood (also known as Siew Yoon Lew and Angie Lew) and a family friend Helmy Omar Sa’aid have pleaded guilty to 8 counts of insider dealing contrary to section 52 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993. They are alleged to have made approximately £590,000 profit from the trades.

The offences relate to trading in a number of different London Stock Exchange and AIM listed shares between 2000 and 2008 and were only brought to an end when the City of London Police working with FSA staff arrested the Littlewoods in March 2009.

The third defendant Helmy Omar Sa’aid was returned to the UK in March 2010 following the execution of a European Arrest Warrant in Mayotte, one of the Comoros Islands.

The case was bought by the FSA and heard at Southwark Crown Court. It is the sixth successful prosecution for insider dealing bought by the FSA and is part of its ongoing drive to tackle market abuse and promote efficient, orderly and fair markets.

Margaret Cole, managing director of enforcement and financial crime, said:

“It seems that the penny is beginning to drop. These guilty pleas show that our strategy of a tough approach to insider dealing – and, in particular, demonstrating that we are prepared to fight difficult criminal prosecutions to trial – is paying off. Dedicated hard work, bold and innovative use of the tools at our disposal and close seamless co-operation between our markets, enforcement and intelligence functions underpin our successful track record in this complex area.”

The full sentencing and confiscation hearing will take place in the week commencing 31 January.

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Library/Communication/PR/2011/002.shtml

FSA/PN/002/2011
10 January 2011

Square Mile rocked by “insider” swoops and arrests / Martin

30/03/2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | This post has no Comments

Times Online writes that The Serious Organised Crime Agency raids on some of banking’s big names have sent shock waves through the City of London.

/…/

The men are suspected of being part of what the watchdog has described as a “sophisticated and long-running insider dealing ring”. The FSA believes the ring made “significant profits” by trading on secret information.

This was the fifth set of arrests since it launched a crackdown two years ago, though this is markedly different from the others. Previous efforts have homed in on fringe players — interns at investment banks, retired stockbrokers, silver surfers with online trading accounts, and occasional rogues at second-tier firms.

Last week’s arrests struck at the heart of the City. Dodgson, 38, is known by the bosses of almost all Britain’s big banks and insurers. He has been a trusted adviser on deals for the likes of HBOS and Legal & General. He even played a bit-part in advising the Treasury on the banking bailout. His CV reads like a roll-call of the City’s biggest investment banks: Cazenove, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and Deutsche.

The same is true of the other suspects. Clive Roberts, who was also questioned on Tuesday morning, is head of equities at Exane BNP Paribas. His clients include some of London’s biggest traders, such as Roger Guy, star fund manager at Gartmore.

Julian Rifat, 41, whose Oxfordshire home was raided at 4.45am on Tuesday, is a trader with Moore Capital. Every device in his home that could store information was removed by investigators — including his children’s iPods.

Other suspects include well-known brokers and traders in the AIM market, regularly spotted out and about in City wine bars.

If the FSA can prove its case, it will shake the City to its core.

“I’m absolutely disgusted,” said one senior City banker. “The idea that someone in our line of work could do anything with inside information appals me. We get inside information all the time — it’s part of the job. You assume that everyone respects that. It’s what we do. You simply could not function if you were to spend all your time thinking that members of your team may be trading on that information.”

In the City’s biggest banks, it is assumed that insider dealing is something that happens somewhere else. There are armies of compliance staff monitoring every trade.

Read the whole story >>

Former Cazenove partner found guilty of insider dealing / Ahto

14/03/2010. Tags: , , , , | This post has no Comments

Malcolm Calvert, a former equities marketmaker at stock broker Cazenove, was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court on five counts of insider dealing according to UK FSA. Calvert made approximately £103,883 profit from the trades that took place between June 2003 and October 2004.

The case is the third successful prosecution for insider dealing bought by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and is part of its ongoing drive to tackle market abuse and promote efficient, orderly and fair markets.

The prosecution is also notable for the involvement of a key witness, Bertie Hatcher – a friend of Calvert – who agreed to provide evidence in the trial having been involved in the illicit dealings himself.

Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, said:

“This is another milestone in our fight against market abuse. It’s a misconception that insider dealing is a victimless crime: it damages the very confidence and trust our markets operate on and it must be stopped.”

“The guilty verdict is a shot across the bow for any city workers who may be tempted to trade using insider knowledge. Our message is simple: if you take part in such activity, you run a very real risk of the FSA taking criminal action against you.”

The full sentencing and confiscation hearing will took place on Thursday 11th March.

The FSA also announced that it has fined Hatcher, a retired bookmaker and insurance broker from Ipswich, £56,098 for market abuse, and published details of the agreement it made with him which led to his assistance in the prosecution of Calvert.

The FSA found that between 2003 and 2005 Hatcher had profited from inside information, using it to buy and sell about 420,000 shares in six companies. The fine represents the full disgorgement of his share of the net profit from these trades.

As part of a settlement with the FSA, Hatcher agreed to provide ongoing assistance to the investigation. In return, the FSA agreed to sanction Hatcher using its regulatory powers rather than a criminal prosecution; Hatcher’s fine was also reduced substantially owing to his cooperation.

Ms Cole continued:

“Hatcher took part in illicit trades using inside information and profited from them; because of this he has received a significant fine. However we were also mindful of the need to encourage others to come forward and assist in the investigation and prosecution of insider dealing and market abuse – especially where it is suspected that two or more people have been involved – and that is why we made an agreement with him.

“Hatcher provided valuable evidence to the FSA, not just about his own misconduct, but also in relation to Calvert. We will continue to enter into agreements of this sort where we believe it is in the public interest and interests of justice for the FSA to do so.”

Source: FSA UK Homepage

Two City workers face fine and ban after insider trading / Martin

13/01/2010. Tags: , , , , , | This post has no Comments

The Guardian wrote that two City workers face fines and a ban from the Square Mile after they used inside information to make more than £85,000 from spread betting on shares.

Robin Chhabra, a former research analyst at Evolution, and his friend Sameer Patel, an investment manager at General Motors Asset Management, were found by a City tribunal to have colluded in using confidential information to make quick profits.

Their punishment is yet to be decided because they had been disputing a finding by the Financial Services Authority that they had committed market abuse. However, the financial services and markets tribunal, which rules on disputes between the FSA and individuals and firms facing regulatory action, upheld the FSA’s case.

Margaret Cole, FSA director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “Chhabra and Patel’s behaviour fell far short of that expected of approved persons. By repeatedly giving Patel privileged information, Chhabra breached the trust of his clients and his employer.

“Patel exploited this information to try to make a quick profit at the expense of other investors. Market abuse is a serious matter and the FSA will continue to pursue and take action against anyone who believes they can make easy money off the back of confidential information.”

The tribunal will hold a new hearing on the “penalties and prohibition orders” against the two men, both aged 38. They have known each other for more than 20 years, acting as each other’s best man, and between 20 April and 3 August 2004 had 165 “telephone contacts”.

Patel, who was using his own money to trade, made £85,541 after placing spread bets on ebookers and Eidos shares following tips from Chhabra, who received inside information at Evolution where he covered 20 stocks.

Some of the gains were made when the companies issued profits warnings during the middle of the trading day – an unusual occurrence, rather than 7am – the tribunal was told by the FSA.

Read the whole story >>

Swedbank employee suspected of insider trading / Mait

28/11/2009. Tags: , , , , , | This post has no Comments

BalticBusinessNews writes that Swedbank employee suspected of insider trading. Anton Uustalu, 27-year-old former employee of client relations department of Swedbank, is one of the suspects in insider trading scheme with Eesti Telekom stock.

Priit Perens, general manager of Swedbank Eesti, said that he could not comment the case and suggested that Äripäev asked the prosecution for comment. “Uustalu left on the mutual agreement,” was all that Perens said, without elaborating why Uustalu’s employment contract was terminated.

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