Leading journalism wire Reuters has been rocked by the resignation of one of its most well-known City correspondents, in an affair relating to a potential conflict of interest in share dealing.
Having brought the matter to the attention of editor Hugo Dixon, commentator Neil Collins resigned his post, after what he called a “serious, but technical” breach of guidelines at Reuters, leading to a company-wide investigation into journalistic conflicts of interest.
Articles from as far back as early-2009 may have been affected by Collins’ trading endeavours, which covered equity stakes in Marks & Spencer, BP and Diageo amongst others. The news is seen as an embarrassing outcome for Reuters, and comes at a time of sensitive relationships with the FSA, who are engaging in an ongoing drive to clamp-down on market abuse, insider dealing and other potential market distortions.
While there is no implication that Collins profited from his position or from breaching the Reuters code in conduct in this regard, the matter has once again drudged up the issue of financial journalists trading simultaneously to their tenure, with the possibility for both accidental and deliberate conflicts of interest ever-present.