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FCA to review private polling rules

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Friday 26 Oct 2018

FCA to review private polling rules

(Sharecast News) - The UK financial watchdog will meet the British Polling Council as part of its examination of the potentially illegal activities involving polling companies and hedge funds, letters published on Thursday confirmed.
The Financial Conduct Authority said in a letter to the Treasury Committee that it would investigate the polling companies' affairs to see if market abuse had been committed and prosecute alleged offenders.

As a response, the Treasury Committee said that the British Polling Council and the Market Research Society would meet the FCA before the end of the year to discuss said activities of their members and consider whether they could be classified as market abuse.

Nicky Morgan MP, Chair of the Treasury Committee said: "The Committee is concerned about the risks posed to the integrity of UK financial markets by the use of private polling data. This intervention from the regulator is therefore welcome.

"The reputation of the UK's financial markets is critical to our reputation as a world class financial centre.

"I have asked the regulator to update the Committee on whether the current private polling rules are sufficient to mitigate the risk that market abuse rules could be breached, whether the BPC and MRS will take actions, and whether greater regulatory oversight may be needed," she concluded.

A Bloomberg investigation earlier this year revealed the secret work pollsters conducted for hedge funds during the 2016 EU referendum campaign when the vote caused the British pound to crash dramatically.

The political situation made a handful of hedge funds earn fortunes and it would have been illegal for pollsters to give the public the same exit-polling data they sold and streamed to hedge funds throughout the day of the referendum, due to a law in the U.K. on releasing exit polls while voting is underway.

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