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Release Date: 4th March 2021

To access the original FCA document, click here.

Summary

The FCA has fined Mr. Adrian Geoffrey Horn, a former market-making trader at Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited, £52,500 for market abuse and prohibited him from performing any functions related to regulated activities.

Mr. Horn engaged in market abuse by executing “wash trades” in the shares of McKay Securities Plc between 18 July 2018 and 22 May 2019. Wash trading involves placing buy orders that trade with existing sell orders (and vice versa) to create a false impression of market activity. Mr. Horn executed 129 such trades, intentionally placing orders to avoid detection.

Mr. Horn’s motive was to maintain the minimum trading volume required for McKay to remain in the FTSE All Share Index, believing this would benefit the relationship between Stifel and its client, McKay. This manipulation gave misleading signals to the market about the demand and supply of McKay shares, artificially inflating end-of-day trading volumes.

Despite being aware of the potential for market manipulation, Mr. Horn recklessly continued his actions. However, he demonstrated a high level of cooperation during the FCA’s investigation, making significant admissions early on. Consequently, his financial penalty was reduced by 25%, with an additional 30% settlement discount.

Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA, stated that Mr. Horn’s manipulative trading undermined market efficiency and integrity, and the FCA is committed to detecting and taking robust action against such abuses.

Key Takeaways for Firms:

Conclusion:

The FCA’s fine and prohibition of Mr. Horn underscore the seriousness of market abuse and serve as a deterrent to other market participants. Firms and traders must adhere strictly to regulations and maintain transparency in their trading activities to ensure market integrity.

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