FCA Fines Former Stifel Nicolaus Trader for Wash Trading

The UK FCA has taken disciplinary action against a former Stifel Nicolaus trader involved in a practice known as “wash trading”.

March 4, 2021 | AtoZ Markets – A former Stifel Nicolaus trader has imposed a £53,000 fine and a ban from the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for market abuse after he was found to have made so-called wash trades.

FCA Fines Adrian Horn, a former Stifel Nicolaus Trader

Adrian Horn, an experienced market maker at Stifel’s London office, engaged in wash trading the shares of McKay Securities, one of his clients, in an effort to keep the commercial property investment company in the FTSE All-Share index, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday.

A “wash trade” occurs when the same institution takes both sides of a trade so there is no change in beneficial ownership. Such trades carry minimal risk or economic purpose but generate extra fees for the broker. The FCA considers them a form of market abuse as they can also give a false impression of demand for a company’s shares, and can inflate trading volumes.

Mr Horn’s manipulative trading was serious,” said Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive enforcement director. “Wash trading is a form of manipulation which undermines market efficiency and integrity.”

The FCA said Horn was unrepresented by a solicitor and declined to make his contact details available. A spokeswoman for Stifel declined to immediately comment.

The watchdog said Horn demonstrated a “high level of co-operation” with its investigation, making “significant admissions” during interview. As a result he received a 25% discount on his penalty, as well as a 30% discount for settling.

The fine is the latest in a flurry of insider dealing and market abuse cases brought by the watchdog recently after a period of relative quiet.

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