The FSA has recommended that all non-media staff at listed firms should be banned from responding to media enquiries in a bid to crack down on the leaking of inside information.
The FSA has clarified that these recommendations are not an attempt to stop firms talking to the media, but are to prevent the spread of insider information relating to market sensitive data such as acquisitions and financial results.
In the regulator’s latest Market Watch newsletter the FSA makes a list of recommendations following work it carried out between 2008 and 2010 into the leaking of information to the media ahead of announcements being made.
The document states that it should not be taken as FSA guidance, but goes on to make what it terms “best practice recommendations.”
The newsletter says: “The recommendations in this section are directed at situations where a regulated/unregulated firm or issuer is handling inside information, whether this inside information relates to a corporate transaction, a trading update, regular financial information or otherwise.
“Internal policies should require all initial media enquiries received by a regulated firm’s staff to be immediately directed to the firm’s media relations team. All non-media-relations personnel at regulated firms should be prohibited from directly responding to any initial enquiry from the media, regardless of seniority.”
An FSA spokesman says: “If you are a bank giving corporate advice or advising on a flotation we are saying you should have systems and controls in place to prevent the leaking of inside information about those transactions. It is not to prevent firms talking to the media in any way. That has no bearing on this, this newsletter is about inside information involving listed firms.”