THE City watchdog will try to push through tough new rules that would force firms to tap the mobile phones of traders as early as this year.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) believes records of mobile phone conversations will step up its battle against insider dealing.
A consultation period ends on 14 June and the FSA hopes to push the legislation through before the end of 2010. Firms would then have a period of around a year to fall into line with the new rules.
It means traders will be subject to strict guidelines about mobile phone use. All calls on work mobiles will be tapped and personal mobiles will be banned from the trading floor. The FSA estimates around 16,000 mobile phones would fall under the new rules.
An FSA spokesman said: “This is about removing an existing exemption for recording mobile phones. We already record fixed lines and email information and require employers to hold these for a period of at least six months.
“These records provide valuable information for our investigations.”
Mobile phones were exempt from the phone tapping legislation brought in last year as the watchdog had concerns the technology was not sufficiently developed.
However firms such as Vodafone now offer business customers the option to make secure recordings of mobile calls.
Text messages and instant messaging, including Bloomberg terminal messages, will also now be included.
Panmure Gordon chief Tim Linacre said the proposals are already in place in many City offices. He said: “It is in everyone’s interests to be transparent.”