FCA publishes Decision Notices against three bond traders for market manipulation

The FCA has published Decision Notices given to Diego Urra, Jorge Lopez Gonzalez and Poojan Sheth, three bond traders, for market abuse.

The FCA has decided to ban Mr Urra, Mr Lopez Gonzalez and Mr Sheth from performing any functions in relation to regulated activity. The FCA has also imposed fines of £395,000 on Mr Urra and £100,000 each on Mr Lopez Gonzalez and Mr Sheth.

The traders, who worked at Mizuho International Plc at the time, have referred the Decision Notices to the Upper Tribunal where they and the FCA will each present their cases.

The Tribunal will then determine what, if any, is the appropriate action for the FCA to take, and will remit the matter to the FCA with such direction as the Tribunal considers appropriate for giving effect to its determination and in relation to the prohibition orders, whether to dismiss the references or remit them to the Authority with a direction to reconsider and reach a decision in accordance with the findings of the Tribunal.

The Tribunal’s decision will be made public on its website. Accordingly, the proposed action outlined in the Decision Notices will have no effect pending the determination of the case by the Tribunal.

The FCA considers that the traders placed large misleading orders for BTP Futures that they did not intend to execute, giving false and misleading signals and a false or misleading impression as to the supply or demand of Italian Government Bond futures (BTP Futures) between 1 June 2016 and 29 July 2016. At the same time, they placed small orders which they did intend to execute on the opposite side of the order book.

The FCA considers that the individuals repeated this pattern of deliberate and intentional market manipulation on a number of occasions and were dishonest.

In the FCA’s view, the fines and the bans that it has decided to impose reflect the serious nature of the breaches set out in the Decision Notices and should act as a deterrent to other market participants. 

There are no other ongoing investigations or actions relating to the trading.

Notes to editors

  1. The Decision Notices outline the reasons for the FCA’s actions.
  2. Decision Notice for Diego Urra.
  3. Decision Notice for Jorge Lopez Gonzalez.
  4. Decision Notice for Poojan Sheth.
  5. Find out more about decisions made by the Tribunal.
  6. “BTP” means Italian Government Bonds, Buoni del Tesoro Poliannuali.
  7. BTP Futures are interest-rate futures contracts (i.e. an agreement to buy or sell at a fixed price), based on a notional BTP with a remaining term of between 2 years and 11 years. References to BTP Futures in this notice are to contracts with a remaining term of between 8.5 and 11 years and a 6% coupon. A BTP Future has a standard €100,000 nominal contract value. One individual contract is often called a “lot”.
  8. Market-makers are firms (or traders within firms) that quote bid and offer prices in a range of instruments and can act as principal in supplying liquidity by buying or selling from their own inventory.
  9. Find out more information about the FCA.