U.K. To Tape Hedge Fund Cell Phone Calls

Nov 12 2010 | 11:01am ET

British prosecutors will not have to fight to use wiretaps to catch insider-traders under new rules promulgated by the U.K. financial regulator.

Hedge fund traders and other finance professionals will have their cellular phone calls recorded and archived for six months under the new rules, the Financial Services Authority said. The U.K. already requires banks and other financial firms to record land-line phone calls as part of an effort to combat market abuse.

Britain is the only European country to require the taping and saving of phone calls. Previously, cell phone calls had been exempted due to technological limitations.

Only firm-issued cell phones are covered by the rules. But the FSA has ordered hedge funds and others “to take reasonable steps to ensure that such communications do not take place on private communication equipment that firms cannot record mainly for privacy reasons.”

“We expect the rules to increase the volume and quality of information available to us to use as additional evidence in insider-trading cases,” FSA spokesman Sarah Bailey said.

The new rules come into force next November.


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