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Field sets out bill to ban short-selling

Labour MP Frank Field is set to launch a private members’ bill this week calling for a ban on the short-selling of shares.

The ban would give the FSA the power to impose unlimited fines or imprisonment on traders who practise short-selling and would force pension fund trustees to disclose if they have lent shares to short-sellers. A separate early day motion proposed in February calling for a ban attracted 33 Labour signatures.

Field has called for information to ascertain if the MPs’ pension fund has been used for short-selling.

The FSA’s ban on the short-selling of financial shares ran from September 2008 to January 2009.

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “I am surprised that a man who is generally regarded quite highly in financial services circles has made such a rash statement. Bringing in an overall ban on short-selling would be a backward step. The last thing the finan- cial services industry needs is regulation with hindsight. This is extremely unhelpful.”

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