Insider trading crackdown receives backing

03-07-2007

Insider trading crackdown receives backing
The Financial Services Authority's (FSA) crackdown on insider trading in the UK has been welcomed by a former head of enforcement at the watchdog.

Yesterday the FSA warned insiders who leak information before big takeover deals that it was looking to take tougher action against them.

It has also called on the government to allow it to offer immunity to those who provide hard evidence of market abuse in a bid to uncover more cases.

Ian Mason told BBC Radio Five Live that he backed the call, saying insider trading was a widespread problem which was difficult to tackle without the necessary powers.

"I think the FSA is wanting to use particularly its criminal enforcement increasingly," he said.

"Deterrence is going to be very important. I think the FSA wants to bring more criminal cases.

"Plea bargaining is part of that but until we actually get kind of pin stripes and handcuffs over here things are not going to be solved," he added.

Asked how widespread he thought insider trading was in the UK, Mr Mason said there was "clearly a problem".

Almost a quarter of stock-arket takeovers in 2005 were preceded by suspicious share-price movements.

"The 25-per-cent figure actually only relates to equities, so you also have to look at derivatives, spread betting as well. So it's just the tip of the iceberg," Mr Mason warned.


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