FSA Confirms Improvement in ‘Cleanliness’ of UK Financial Markets

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published the results of its latest work to measure the cleanliness of UK financial markets OP25, entitled ‘Updated Measurement of Market Cleanliness’. The recent exercise extended the period examined to include trading data from 2004/2005 as well as improving the methodology used to determine the level of market cleanliness. The results show that in 2004/05 there was a significant decrease in the level of possible informed trading ahead of FTSE 350 companies’ trading announcements, with only 2% of significant announcements being preceded by informed price movements compared to 11.1% in the period 2002/03 and 19.6% in 1998-2000. The 2005 figures also include the six-month period following the introduction of the new Disclosure Rules for listed companies under the Market Abuse Directive. For takeover announcements there was a decrease in the level of possible informed trading ahead of takeover announcements from 32.4% in 2004 to 23.7% in 2005. But the level still remains high and little changed from the situation in 2000 of 24% before the implementation of the Financial Services and Markets Act. Sally Dewar, director of markets division, said: “We are pleased to see the improving trend in market cleanliness with the addition of the 2005 data. However, the figures for takeover announcements, although moving in the right direction, remain a cause for particular concern and there will be no let up in our efforts to tackle the problems in this area.”


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