FSA fines ex-citi analyst

LONDON – In late March, the Financial Services Authority announced that it had fined Roberto Casoni, a former equities analyst, £52,500 for failing to observe proper standards of market conduct. Casoni was a research analyst in Citigroup's global equity research department in London, where he was head of the Italian small-mid cap team.

In January 2006, he began the approval process for Citigroup to initiate coverage on the Italian leasing and factoring bank, Banca Italease (BI). However, prior to publishing his report on the bank, Casoni selectively disclosed details of his valuation methodology, final recommendation and the target price. In one case he also told a client the expected date of publication.

Casoni, by disclosing this information after he had formed an opinion about BI and had initiated Citigroup's internal approval procedure, "failed to observe proper standards of market conduct", said the regulator.

Citi apparently brought the matter to the attention of the regulator. In reaching its decision, the FSA said it has taken into account the fact that Casoni did not have any intention of manipulating BI's share price in making these disclosures, nor did he obtain any financial gain from his misconduct. It also said Casoni has co-operated fully with the FSA and has agreed to settle this matter at an early stage of the investigation, thereby receiving a 30% discount on the amount of his fine, reduced from £75,000 to £52,500.

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