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Jérôme de Lavenère Lussan, CEO of hedge fund consultancy Laven Partners, comments on the UK Financial Services Authority’s first operation carried out with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), resulting in the arrests this week of six men on suspicion of being involved in an insider dealing ring.

These arrests send a strong signal to the City; the FSA’s actions show that they are fully committed to seeking criminal convictions for insider dealing. Historically this has not been easy, largely as a result of the evidence needed to secure a conviction.
The FSA has significantly expanded its task force, and made statements which indicated it was trying to instill fear into London's financial institutions. The high profile insider cases we have seen over the last two years show that this isn’t just talk; the FSA is taking decisive action to ensure rules are enforced.
The business implications for a company with employees involved in a case like this, particularly a criminal case, are enormous. Reputations, client relationships and share prices are all put at risk. It is imperative that companies put in place robust systems and controls to protect their businesses in line with FSA rules. Investment managers which allow their employees to trade their private accounts need to be particularly vigilant.
Compliance needs to be an integral part of every financial institution. When it is taken seriously by all employees, we will see a reduction in these incidents, which can damage the reputation of the UK as a leading financial centre.

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