LONDON — Britain’s markets watchdog
fined a former Jefferies investment banker £37,198 for sharing client confidential information over WhatsApp.
Christopher Niehaus, “failed to act with due skill, care and diligence,” the Financial Conduct Authority said.
Niehaus, who was a managing director in the investment bank, shared information about two clients with “both a personal acquaintance and a friend, who was also a client of the firm,” between January and May last year.
In January he disclosed the details of a deal he was working on, the identity of the client and the fee the firm would make as a result, during the course of a WhatsApp chat.
Niehaus “also boasted about how he may be able to pay off his mortgage if one of the deals was successful,” the FCA said. In a separate conversation in May, Niehaus told the same friend how a different client had “c[o]me out with a profit warning” and was “in trouble,” the FCA said, citing the messages in its final notice.
Niehaus could have been fined £53,140, but received a 30% reduction for early co-operation. None of the parties used the information to trade securities, the FCA said. Between January and May Niehaus earned £312,589.60.
“Niehaus claimed that he ‘didn’t know’ why he disclosed the information to Friend A and Client A other than he wanted to impress them,” the FCA said.
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