China nabs many in insider trading clampdown: Regulator

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - A crackdown on inside trading in China since the second half of last year has resulted in 39 suspects from over 20 financial institutions being handed over to police, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on Friday.

Two of the 39 had been punished for criminal acts, while the institutions included HFT Investment Management Co, a joint venture owned by China's Haitong Securities Co Ltd and France's BNP Paribas Investment Partners BE Holding, the regulator said on its official microblog.

HFT officials were not immediately available for comment.

The campaign against insider trading in sectors including China's $1.2 trillion mutual fund industry was launched as part of official efforts to rebuild investor confidence in the country's lagging stock markets.

The clean-up campaign has helped China's main stock index, the Shanghai Composite Index, jump 34 per cent so far in the fourth quarter of this year.

People in the industry have told Reuters that the regulatory clampdown on trading irregularities involving funds has focused on so-called "rat trading".

Rat trading involves an employee illegally obtaining information about client orders to buy or sell shares, and then using that information to trade for themselves before the order is executed.

Regulators are also investigating tip-offs by fund employees to relatives or friends on what stocks the fund plans to buy or sell, allowing them to trade in advance of any movement in the stock price caused by the fund's activity.