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Pandemic Sparks Worries Of Market Abuse Crackdown

August 5, 2020, Law360

John Ahern is quoted in Law360 regarding the UK’s increased crackdown on market abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Ahern says tackling market abuse appears to be "very close to the heart" of Mark Steward, the FCA's head of enforcement and market oversight, who reiterated in May that the FCA is continuing to monitor and investigate firms' conduct in real time during the pandemic.

“The FCA has been very hot on this for some time. If you look at recent enforcement, the FCA is carrying through on its threat to go in heavy on individuals who flout the rules,” he adds. “I get the feeling this is not an issue the FCA is prepared to waive. I expect Steward's words do come with some force.”

Mr. Ahern went on to add, “wall-crossing protections are really important in capital markets transactions” where a company can provide inside information legitimately to a third party, such as the company's investors, but is restricted from dealing or acting on it.

“When it comes to those dealing with inside information, the FCA is going to take a hard look at any breaches,” he says. “The FCA has indicated what its enforcement powers are through this period and won't hesitate to ramp up on the enforcement side.”

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