The U.K. Financial Services Authority (“FSA”) issued a release today publicly censuring London metals trader Jason Geddis. In November of 2008, while employed at Dresdner Kleinwort Limited, Geddis built up a very large position in short term Lead contracts, enabling him to drive up prices to spectacular heights. Though Geddis’ behavior constituted market manipulation, his subsequent contrition has convinced the FSA to let him off with a slap on the wrist.
According to the FSA notice, on November 21, 2008, Geddis began to build up a significant number of Lead contracts. He took these actions in pursuit of a legitimate trading strategy–sifting through the contracts to find something to sell over-the-counter to clients for a premium. However, shortly before the end of the “ring” (open outcry) session, Geddis crossed the line from strategy into manipulation, driving the contract price up to an unprecedented $300.
However, once the session ended, London Metals Exchange (“LME”) authorities intervened to adjust trading levels, and ordered Dresdner Kleinwort to pay compensation to other market participants, as well as a fine to the LME. Geddis himself did not profit from the manipulative trades, and sought assistance when he realized what he has done.
The FSA has concluded that “Mr. Geddis’s ramping up of the price was the result of him getting caught up in the excitement of trading,” and is limiting his punishment to public censure.