Regulation  

FSA publishes update on inside information

It follows on from the publication of Market Watch 21 in July last year.

The update includes a set of principles of good practice for the handling of inside information, drawn up by industry practitioners representing different areas involved in M&A activity, such as issuers, corporate finance houses, lawyers, accountants, public relations firms and financial printers.

The principles, which highlight the importance of restricting access to price sensitive information, are voluntary to adopt but the FSA pointed out that insider dealing is a criminal offence which it will prosecute vigorously.

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The FSA said the areas requiring most attention to help mitigate the risk of leakage of inside information include the need for greater vigilance overall to restrict the number of insiders, proactiveness when leaks occur and the need to have robust IT controls.

Alexander Justham, FSA director of Markets, said: “As a direct result of Market Watch 21 many firms have made positive changes to strengthen their controls. I am extremely pleased to observe the heightened industry awareness and dialogue in relation to the risk of leakage of information on M&A deals.

“It is important that the FSA continues to engage in partnership with the industry on these matters; in particular, I would like to see more efforts to crack down on the length of insider lists and to see firms giving greater focus to the importance of leak enquiries.”