Ex-BlackRock man held in insider trading inquiry

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The Independent Online

A former star fund manager at BlackRock has been caught up in the City regulator's latest sweep against insider dealing.

Mark Lyttleton, who worked at the world's largest fund manager for 21 years, is understood to have been arrested by City of London Police at the end of last month – along with an unnamed woman – but released without charge.

BlackRock confirmed that a former employee had been arrested but denied that any of its clients had been affected. The company said it was continuing to help the authorities with their investigations.

"The FCA has informed us that the allegations relate to actions carried out for personal gain, while off our premises. Neither BlackRock, nor any other employee, is under investigation," the group said. "There is no suggestion there has been any impact to any of BlackRock's clients."

The arrests were thought to be linked to a statement released by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) earlier this month. The watchdog said at the time that neither individual was charged and the arrests were not linked to any other ongoing insider dealing investigation.

It added that business and private premises in Switzerland were searched by the Swiss authorities in connection with its investigation.

The FCA and its predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, have made several high-profile arrests for suspected insider dealing already this year as part of a commitment to crack down harder on the crime.

Insider dealing is a criminal offence that is punishable by a fine or up to seven years' imprisonment.

Earlier this year, BlackRock said Mr Lyttleton was stepping down as manager of its UK Dynamic and Absolute Alpha portfolios. His departure is believed to be unrelated to the FCA investigation.

He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

BlackRock is not the first company to have its name linked to an insider trading inquiry this year. Others including the hedge fund Man Group and Schroders have also been embroiled.

In January, a Schroders trader and four other individuals were arrested after four properties were searched in the City of London, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and North Yorkshire.

Man Group later admitted that it had suspended an analyst in the GLG unit it bought for $1.6bn (£1bn) in 2010. The unnamed individual was arrested on suspicion of insider dealing and market abuse.