The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today fined Christopher Niehaus £37,198 for sharing confidential client information over messaging app WhatsApp. The FCA found that he failed to act with due skill, care and diligence.
The regulator said Niehaus, who was a managing director in the Investment Banking division at Jefferies International Limited, shared confidential client information with both a personal acquaintance and a friend on a number of occasions between 24 January and 16 May 2016.
In one of the instances that information was about a competitor. The FCA said the information was shared by Niehaus because he wanted to impress the people that he shared the information with.
The details of the information he shared included the identity of the client, the details relating to the client mandate and the fee Jefferies would charge for their involvement in the transaction. He also boasted about how he may be able to pay off his mortgage if one of the deals was successful.
The FCA said the information was not shared for the reason of dealing in securities.
Niehaus was suspended from Jefferies pending the completion of its disciplinary process and he resigned before that process was completed.
He provided full admissions to the FCA in an early interview and, as a result, he was given a 15% reduction to the financial penalty. Niehaus also agreed to settle during the stage 1 settlement period; so the penalty was reduced from £53,140.