On March 20, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced that it had fined Roberto Casoni, a former equities analyst with a major investment bank, £52,500 (approx $102,000) for failing to observe proper standards of market conduct while carrying out his role as an approved person – a breach of Principle 3 of the FSA's Statement of Principles for Approved Persons. On January 9, 2006 Mr. Casoni began the approval process for his employer to initiate coverage of an Italian bank (BI).

However prior to its publication, Mr. Casoni selectively disclosed details of his valuation methodology, final recommendation and the target price for BI. In one case he also told a client the expected date of publication. The research, which contained a buy recommendation with a target price of €39 per share was published when BI shares were trading at €25.70.

Mr. Casoni’s employer brought the matter to the FSA's attention. The FSA took the view that by disclosing the information Mr. Casoni had failed to observe proper standards of market conduct. He gave the recipients the opportunity to pre-empt the conclusions of the published research ahead of the rest of the market. The fact that they did not do so was not relevant.

On the amount of the penalty, the FSA took into account the fact that Mr. Casoni did not have any intention of manipulating BI's share price and he did not make any personal financial gain from his conduct. Further he co-operated fully with the FSA and agreed to settle this matter at an early stage of the FSA proceedings. This entitled him to a 30% reduction in the amount of his fine, from £75,000 (approx $133,000) to £52,500 (approx $102,000). He has not previously been the subject of FSA disciplinary action.

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/final/casoni_20mar07.pdf