Insider dealing sentences will increase dramatically

According to a leading authority of the area, insider dealing cases being investigated by the Financial Services Authority could break all time records for sentencing. The watchdog’s request for harsher sentences for insider dealing show the FSA is banking on a few of their current cases breaking new records as to length of jail terms handed down.

BDO accountants say the average sentence is only 18 months for insider dealing with the harshest sentence thus far being only 40 months that was given to Christian Littlewood earlier in the year. The majority of sentences are around 12 months and many are suspended.

A BDO director, Fiona Raistrick said the average sentence was about 18 months with part of that suspended so the push to extend them beyond seven years means the FSA is going after some big sentences. They have some large cases pending and there are some rather important ones coming forward with some rather serious ones on the way.

There are currently 12 individuals being prosecuted by the FSA for insider dealing. In March of last year seven were charged with 13 charges for insider dealing. These allegations centre round claims that individuals made illegal profits of £2.5m by getting inside information from two investment banks and acting on it to get the profits. That trial is scheduled for September.

The FSA head of enforcement called Monday for the maximum sentence to be increased from seven years to 10. The FSA is looking for the UK to come into line with the USA where sentences there have a maximum of 20 years. Skeptics wonder if it is more for political than criminal reasons.