Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Tuesday, 6 May 2008 12:42 UK

FSA targets insider trading deals

FSA headquarters
The FSA has increased its criminal prosecutor team

The Financial Service Authority (FSA) has more than doubled the size of its team devoted to targeting illegal practices such as insider trading.

The criminal prosecutor team now includes 30 people, up from 12 less than a year ago, the FSA said.

The watchdog has also strengthened its enforcement division.

Less than 10% of the FSA's resources focused on fighting financial crime and market abuse, a National Audit Officer survey in 2007 showed.

The same report, commissioned by the Treasury, said that that less than half of the authority's supervisory staff were confident in addressing financial crime.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the head of the FSA's wholesale markets division, Sally Dewar, said the watchdog had made a "conscious decision to focus more on criminal cases".

Separately on Tuesday, members of the Financial Services Authority were being grilled by the Commons Treasury Committee regarding the oversight of Northern Rock.

Committee chairman John McFall was critical of the way lender Northern Rock, which has now been temporarily nationalised, was monitored by the FSA.

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