Banks

BoE stress tests: all you need to know

The Bank of England has released the results of its latest round of its annual banking stress tests and its semi-annual financial stability report this morning. Used to measure the resilience of a bank’s balance sheet in adverse scenarios, the stress tests measured the impact of a severe slowdown in Chinese growth, a global recession […]

Continue Reading

Economy

Draghi: Eurozone will decline without vital productivity growth

It’s productivity, stupid. European Central Bank president Mario Draghi has become the latest major policymaker to warn of the long-term economic damage posed by chronically low productivity growth, as he urged eurozone governments to take action to lift growth and stoke innovation. Speaking in Madrid on Wednesday, Mr Draghi noted that productivity rises in the […]

Continue Reading

Currencies

Asia markets tentative ahead of Opec meeting

Wednesday 2.30am GMT Overview Markets across Asia were treading cautiously on Wednesday, following mild overnight gains for Wall Street, a weakening of the US dollar and as investors turned their attention to a meeting between Opec members later today. What to watch Oil prices are in focus ahead of Wednesday’s Opec meeting in Vienna. The […]

Continue Reading

Banks, Financial

RBS emerges as biggest failure in tough UK bank stress tests

Royal Bank of Scotland has emerged as the biggest failure in the UK’s annual stress tests, forcing the state-controlled lender to present regulators with a new plan to bolster its capital position by at least £2bn. Barclays and Standard Chartered also failed to meet some of their minimum hurdles in the toughest stress scenario ever […]

Continue Reading

Banks

Barclays: life in the old dog yet

Barclays, a former basket case of British banking, is beginning to look inspiringly mediocre. The bank has failed Bank of England stress tests less resoundingly than Royal Bank of Scotland. Investors believe its assets are worth only 10 per cent less than their book value, judging from the share price. Although Barclays’s legal team have […]

Continue Reading

Categorized | Financial

Ex-BlackRock manager charged with insider trading


Posted on September 29, 2016

Visitors walk up a staircase as a logo sits on a sign in the reception area of the Financial Conduct Authority©Bloomberg

Reception area of the Financial Conduct Authority

A former investment portfolio manager at BlackRock, the asset manager, has been charged by the financial watchdog with insider trading after a three-year investigation spanning the UK and Switzerland.

Mark Lyttleton, who previously ran a £2bn fund for BlackRock’s UK unit, has been charged with three counts of insider dealing between October and December 2011, relating “to trading in equities and a call option”, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday in a statement.

    Mr Lyttleton was first arrested in 2013 as part of a probe dubbed Operation Ripley, along with his wife, Delphine. Swiss authorities also searched properties in Switzerland at the time. No other individual was charged on Thursday and Mrs Lyttleton was dropped from the FCA’s inquiries early last year.

    The Financial Times previously reported that the FCA was investigating whether Mr Lyttleton gleaned confidential information on mining stocks from his job at the asset manager that he then used to trade on his own account through a broker in Switzerland.

    Mr Lyttleton’s solicitor, Monty Raphael QC, declined to comment on behalf of his client, who attended the City of London Magistrates’ Court — just half a mile from BlackRock’s offices — on Thursday.

    The charge of insider dealing is a fall from grace for the former fund manager, who was a 21-year veteran of BlackRock. Mr Lyttleton was one of its biggest stars in the last decade, winning kudos for managing its UK Dynamic and Absolute Alpha portfolios. The latter topped the Cofunds’ bestseller list for June 2008 and its assets swelled from £300m to £1.4bn in just over a year.

    But the funds struggled after the financial crisis, and UK Dynamic was singled out as a “dog” by financial advisers Bestinvest in 2011.

    He had left BlackRock before his arrest in 2013 for reasons unrelated to the investigation, the asset manager said at the time.

    Insider trading carries a maximum seven-year jail sentence in the UK. The financial regulator and its predecessor had never criminally prosecuted insider trading before 2008 but since then have built up a steady stream of successes against evermore sophisticated targets, culminating in the high-profile trial of five defendants earlier this year following the eight-year investigation dubbed Tabernula.

    Two men, including a former managing director at Deutsche Bank, were convicted but three were acquitted.

    BlackRock said in a statement that the charges related “to alleged actions carried out in 2011 for his personal gain, while off our premises, and that neither BlackRock nor any employee was under investigation. There was no impact to any of BlackRock’s clients as a result of the alleged actions. The alleged behaviour is totally contrary to the firm’s principles and values, and we strongly support aggressive enforcement of the law in these matters.”

    Additional reporting by Madison Marriage in London