Is 'Private Briefing' Illegal in the United Kingdom?
16 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2005
In recent years there has been some debate and uncertainty about the legality of private briefings of some market participants with the management of listed companies in the UK. The Myners (2001) and Higgs (2003) Reports have suggested an increasingly active role for institutional shareholders. However, the message from the Financial Services Authority in its role as the United Kingdom Listing Authority has been that private briefings may be unlawful. This article explores the meaning and scope of the legal rules on insider dealing and market abuse under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, the Criminal Justice Act 1993 and those parts of the Listing Rules that govern such briefings. The extent to which such rules apply to various types of meeting between corporate managers and other market participants, such as institutional investors, and the information provided in those meetings, will also be examined. The paper concludes that the mismatch between the apparent legal position and the policy objective of the Government of increasing institutional shareholders' activism requires a resolution.
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