Market abuse

Certain types of behaviour, such as insider dealing and market manipulation, can amount to market abuse. Firms must have safeguards in place to identify and reduce the risk of market abuse and other financial crime. 

Preventing, detecting and punishing market abuse is a high priority for us. It’s important in fulfilling our statutory objectives of protecting consumers, enhancing market integrity and promoting competition.

We work closely with the financial services industry, law enforcement agencies and other regulators to combat market abuse and other related financial crime. We also aim to educate market participants.

Market Abuse Regulation (MAR)

The EU Market Abuse Regulation (EU MAR) came into effect on 3 July 2016 and was onshored into UK law on 31 December 2020 by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Changes to the regulation were made by the Market Abuse Exit Regulations 2019, to make sure that the onshored legislation (UK MAR) operates effectively in the UK.

The EU technical standards for MAR were also onshored into UK law on 31 December by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and were amended by FSAEU 2019/45.

Changes to our Handbook were made by FSAEU 2019/23 in relation to the Market Conduct sourcebook, and by FSAEU 2019/26 in relation to the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules sourcebook.

Further changes to UK MAR were made by The Recognised Auction Platforms (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2021 to include the UK Emission Trading Scheme, with related changes to technical standards made by FSAEU/2016/21. Changes to UK MAR were also made by the Financial Services Act 2021 in relation to insider lists and managers’ transaction (see section 30 of the Act).  

Find out more about MAR

Market abuse offences

UK MAR makes insider dealing, unlawful disclosure, market manipulation and attempted manipulation civil offences, and gives us powers and responsibilities for preventing and detecting market abuse.

Criminal insider dealing is an offence under Part V of the Criminal Justice Act 1993, and criminal market manipulation is an offence under sections 89-91 of the Financial Services Act 2012. 

Prevention and detection

We work closely with the financial services industry to identify and prevent market abuse. We also undertake our own surveillance of financial markets and have systems for identifying insider dealing and market manipulation in various financial markets. This includes analysing transaction reporting data, order book data, benchmark submission and other market data. This significantly helps us in detecting market abuse. 

Our market monitoring department is also in regular contact with trading firms, market operators and investors to identify suspicious trading. 

Operators of UK trading venues must detect and report suspicious transactions and orders to us via suspicious transaction and order reports (STORs).

Persons professionally arranging or executing transactions must also detect and report suspicious transactions and orders. Such persons are required to report STORs to us where they are registered or have their head office in the UK or, in the case of a branch, where the branch is situated in the UK.

Enforcement and penalties

We take enforcement action against market abuse and can impose significant penalties.

For breaches of UK MAR we can impose unlimited fines, order injunctions, or prohibit regulated firms or approved persons.

Criminal sanctions for insider dealing and market manipulation can incur custodial sentences of up to 10 years and unlimited fines.

See our list of final notices and related press releases for more on the action we have taken over market abuse.

Find out more about our enforcement process and powers.

Report market abuse or contact us

Find out how to report suspected market abuse as a firm or trading venue subject to the requirements of Article 16 of UK MAR.

Find out how to report a market abuse concern as an individual.

Submit notifications about buy-back programmes or stabilisation by email to [email protected].

Reporting requirements

Under UK MAR, firms, issuers, UK EAMPs, and individuals (as applicable) must make the following notifications to us when required:

Responding to requests for insider lists

The following entities must transmit their insider lists to us on request:

  • issuers who have requested or approved admission of their financial instruments to trading on a UK regulated market
  • in the case of instruments only traded on a UK MTF or on a UK OTF, issuers who have approved trading of their financial instruments on a UK MTF or a UK OTF or have requested admission to trading of their financial instruments on a UK MTF; 
  • Persons acting on the behalf of or on the account of an issuer captured above 
  • UK emission allowance market participants ( UK EAMPs) 
  • auction platforms and auctioneers in relation to UK emission allowances or other related auctioned products.

We have a secure system that will enable issuers or their nominees, UK EAMPs, UK auction platforms and auctioneers to respond to requests for insider lists using a secure electronic system.

This system is free to use and gives sufficient security to protect the personal data in insider lists. Details of the transmission method will be provided to issuers or their nominees, and UK EAMPs, auction platforms and auctioneers as part of any information request we make.

Market Watch

Our Market Watch newsletter looks at market abuse risks, transaction reporting, suspicious transaction and order reporting, and other market conduct issues. 

It can help regulated firms and other non-regulated market users to understand more about these areas and relevant practices to consider.

See all editions of Market Watch.

    Page updates

    26/10/2020: Information added TTP update at the start of the page