FSA calls for tougher insider trade penalties

The FSA has called for tougher insider trading sentences and changes to discount guidelines to move the UK closer to the US model, according to the Financial Times.

FSA interim head of business conduct Margaret Cole has urged the Government to increase the maximum sentence for insider dealing from seven to 10 years.

Cole says: “A longer sentence is important because a lot of enforcement work is about sending messages that this is serious to disincentivise people from doing it.”

She adds: “We have a different dynamic from the US system where people are incentivised by the sentences to come forward.”

Cole said the FSA’s position was weakened by sentencing guidelines that give the same discount, one third off, to defendants who plead guilty early and those that wait until the day of trial.

“We would welcome an increase in the maximum sentence as well as a clearer and more effective application of the discount for guilty pleas. The [current rule] doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t incentivise early pleas,” Cole says.