SFA wants wider role for regulators

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The Independent Online
THE Securities and Futures Authority said yesterday that cases such as Blue Arrow should be dealt with in future by regulators like itself rather than by the criminal courts, to save time and money.

The SFA named its new chief executive as Richard Farrant, currently deputy head of banking supervision at the Bank of England. Mr Farrant will replace John Young, who recently became chief executive of the Securities and Investments Board.

The SFA also threw its weight behind plans for a Central Enforcement Agency to work alongside the Stock Exchange in investigating and prosecuting stock market manipulation cases.

Christopher Sharples, SFA chairman, said the new City-wide agency would probably be run by the SIB, although 'there is going to be a long debate on this'.

Mr Sharples said the SFA's annual report, published yesterday, showed it had had 'a good year'. Complaints by investors were down as well as claims on the compensation scheme. Mr Sharples said this was due to the ebbing of the recession, and to the SFA placing more staff in member firms and computerising members' financial returns. Both of these actions had a substantial deterrent effect against slackness and wrongdoing.

Last month the SFA fined the US investment bank Goldman Sachs pounds 160,000 plus pounds 125,000 costs over three share trades carried out with companies controlled by the late Robert Maxwell.

In the year to March the SFA imposed fines and costs for disciplinary offences totalling pounds 239,000 as well as fines of pounds 118,000 for late submission of financial returns. This was down from a total of pounds 1,035,000 for 1991/2.

'This indicates an improving level of compliance,' Mr Sharples said. 'Many of our members never had to deal with compliance before we came along. Now after six years the system is beginning to bed down, and one of our main aims is stability as far as the rulebook is concerned.'