February 28, 2020 / 2:52 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-BoE reviews "misuse of press facilities" after audio feed abuse

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LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - The Bank of England has launched a review into what it called misuse of press facilities, following its concerns in December that a rogue supplier had misused audio feeds from its main news conference to give traders a head start over rivals.

Minutes on Friday from the BoE’s Court of Directors, its main supervisory body, showed that on Dec. 20 the BoE agreed “to hold an internal review into the misuse of the Bank’s press facilities” and make the findings public.

The BoE was not immediately available for further comment on the exact scope of the review, or when it would report.

On Dec. 19, the BoE said a rogue supplier had been misusing audio feeds from BoE news conferences to give traders potentially market-moving information seconds before rivals, and that it would investigate further and refer the issue to the Financial Conduct Authority. (FCA)

Public briefings by BoE Governor Mark Carney and other central bank officials often move the prices of financial assets such as currencies and government bonds, and early access to their comments could allow traders to make millions.

According to The Times, which first reported the news in December, the supplier sent the feed to traders who could have had a 5-8 second head start because sound can be compressed and transmitted faster than the publicly available video feed.

Last month, the BoE also asked the FCA to investigate a large jump in the value of sterling in the seconds before it published that month’s interest rate decision. (Reporting by David Milliken; editing by Costas Pitas and Stephen Addison)

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