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FSA bans trader for five years

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today confirmed a five-year ban for a Merrill Lynch trader who is reported to have mis-stated his positions by more than "$100 million". Alexis Stenfors, a former senior trader with Merrill Lynch, was dealt with under the "fit and proper person" regulations of the FSA and while only banned for five years it will be very difficult for him to make his way back into the City in the future.

It was reported that between mid-January 2009 and mid February 2009 the trader allegedly deliberately mis-stated his positions which resulted in Merrill Lynch International Bank eventually taking a $456 million hit on its books. Not only does the mis-marking of positions affect the underlying company but it also gives the wrong impression to the market and can impact upon investment decisions.

There is no doubt that the FSA has invested much time and money into insider trading and market abuse over the last few months and this is certainly beginning to pay dividends. We have seen a significant increase in both convictions and fines dished out to individual traders and companies alike. The word is certainly about that the FSA is being more proactive than ever before and those considering market abuse need to think again!

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