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Merrill trader is struck off by the FSA

Steve Dinneen
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Former Merrill Lynch banker Alexis Stenfors has been banned from trading by the FSA.

His career is in tatters after the watchdog said he was not a “fit and proper person” to work in financial markets. Stenfors says he will not refer the matter to a tribunal.

The inquiry centered around undisclosed losses of around £85m. He deliberately mis-marked positions he traded for Merrill between January and February 2009 in order to avoid showing the vast loss in his books.

It is thought he marked losses as profit and received a bonus pot of over £1m from the bank. His actions caused Merrill to make a negative adjustment of £300m to its books.

Margaret Cole, FSA director of enforcement and financial crime, said: “Stenfors’ actions in deliberately mis-marking his positions fell far short of the FSA’s expectations. Market confidence is likely to be damaged by sudden and unexpected writedowns and revaluations of securities.

“Financial instruments must be priced correctly by traders, particularly in more challenging conditions and when it comes to illiquid products.

“We have banned Stenfors because his misconduct was deliberate, frequent and repeated over a one month period. He was a senior and experienced trader who held a position of trust at the firm. He betrayed the trust placed in him by the firm and demonstrated that he is not fit and proper to be approved by the FSA.”

ALEXIS STENFORS

FORMER MERRILL LYNCH
CURRENCY TRADER
ALEXIS Stenfors is a 38-year-old currency trader who was formerly employed by Merrill Lynch.

His mis-marking of losses of more than £85m was discovered when he was on a skiing holiday.

After being caught he responded by saying there had been a “misunderstanding” but later admitted his crime. The FSA said he has since expressed “remorse”.

However, it rejected a claim that he was mentally exhausted because of his enormous workload and a prolonged lack of any holiday, because he had not alerted his managers to any difficulties he was having.

The FSA says it will review his ban after five years and revoke it if he has not indicated he may reoffend.