UK regulators are investigating individual traders for allegedly front-running client orders and profiting on inside knowledge
The Financial Conduct Authority has extended its investigation of currency market manipulation to individual traders and personal accounts, according to the FT who cited two persons with knowledge of the situation.
The story was broke in the later hours of November 18 and follows a succession of accusations that traders have been using personal accounts at spread betting firms in order to gain a competitive advantage. Trading ahead of a client’s orders is a clear breach of regulations and as a consequence numerous banks are looking to tighten restrictions on the use of personal accounts.
Current rules require that existing personal accounts be declared to a senior member of staff and any individual trades be reported on. However, an unnamed forex broker executive was quoted by the FT as saying, “[the existing rules] wouldn’t prevent an employee of an FCA-regulated firm from trading [with a personal account] when they knew they shouldn’t be but really wanted to.”
The investigation forms part and parcel of an exhaustive regulatory sweep of the $5.3tn-a-day forex market and one that has unmasked a number of misgivings and incurred billions of dollars in fines. So far, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Barclays have all suspended senior forex traders during the course of the investigation, although the individuals are yet to face any formal accusations of illegal activity.