Technology, not regulation, key to fighting insider trading - survey

Insider trading is a systemic risk that is largely immune to regulation and instead needs to be tackled culturally and technologically, according to a survey of UK market players by MPI Europe.

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Technology, not regulation, key to fighting insider trading - survey

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The FSA has recently moved to clamp down on insider trading market abuses, raiding premises and arresting individuals.

The watchdog has also fined Credit Suisse, Getco, Instinet and Commerzbank a total of nearly £5 million in the last few weeks for failures in their transaction reporting systems.

Yet this action is all but futile according to MPI Europe's poll of over 500 senior directors and staff in financial institutions, with respondents saying the regulator is not a key driver in this area, beyond providing clarity about the specifics.

In City circles, insider trading is largely viewed as a systemic risk that is immune to tougher regulation, and should be tackled instead by significant changes in culture, people and technology.

Over two thirds of those surveyed think the reasons for market abuse are not simply confined to firm-specific risks but are actually systemic. A similar percentage feel the market as a whole still underestimates both the importance and impact of market abuse.

The survey shows a high level of support to engage more skilled people in this area, although this needs to be combined with changes in corporate culture - reversing the trend from an emphasis on short term results.

There is also a strong consensus that improvements can be made in technology, with many believing that there should be improvement in applications to detect market abuse. Indeed, 95% of those surveyed think that the lack of sufficiently developed tools and techniques contributed to the failure to correctly identify and manage risks of market abuse.

John Cant, MD, MPI Europe, says: "Whilst the market may not get the freedom in the form of self-regulation in this area - the recent actions of the UK FSA and other regulators have made that clear already - the more significant changes and improvements that institutions make, especially in the key areas of people, culture and technology, the more likely they are to be able to take a proactive approach before a regulator would need to become involved."

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