20100329 bond trading 18
A bond trader observes offers prices in the U.S. Treasury 10-year T-note options pit at the Chicago Board of Trade in Chicago, Ill. Bond prices where up slightly during mid-day trading. - 


JEREMY HOBSON: Well here in the U.S. Federal authorities are investigating a widespread case of insider trading. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the FBI is close to making formal charges against a large group of researchers. They are suspected of buying and selling corporate secrets worth tens of millions of dollars.

Marketplace's Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale reports dozens of people could be charged.

JOHN DIMSDALE: Investigators are looking at large group of analysts who gather valuable nonpublic information that can move stock prices. The analysts interview corporate executives to find out things like are merger talks going on? Is there a promising new product in the pipeline? Are layoffs coming? They then sell that information to hedge fund and mutual fund managers who trade on the tip offs. Professor Chizu Nakajima at the Cass Business School says this is a growing industry.

CHIZU NAKAJIMA: There has been some evidence of syndicates engaged in insider trading. So there are those professionals who actually do trade in inside information.

Hedge fund managers are said to have earned tens of millions of dollars from the inside tips. There may be indictments by the end of the year. Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been looking into insider trading in the health care industry going back almost three years. And last month, the U.S. attorney for Manhattan said insider trading is so "rampant" it is now a top priority for his office.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.