David Prosser: Cole's FSA must stamp out insider dealing

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Outlook The Financial Services Authority's latest insider dealing investigation, which saw charges levelled against five people yesterday, underlines why the Government was right in its decision last week not to further fragment City regulation.

The Conservatives have always planned to give the FSA's responsibilities for prudential regulation to the Bank of England, but their initial instincts were to go further still, stripping the regulator – to be renamed the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority – of its jurisdiction over company listing rules and insider-dealing cases.

Last week's announcement, that the CPMA is to retain those roles, was a sensible U-turn. It has taken time, but the FSA, under its impressive director of enforcement Margaret Cole, has now become a credible watchdog. Ms Cole's unit, handed additional resources, has begun to get results.

For a while, people thought of insider dealing as a long-gone excess of the Eighties. In fact, both in the UK and across the Atlantic – where a major case has begun in recent days – it is rife.

Going back to the drawing board on how to tackle insider dealing would have meant another delay in the process of getting on top of a crime that exploits ordinary savers staking their financial futures on markets that are sometimes rigged against them.