Reuters columnist resigns after trading code breach

LONDON (Reuters) - A columnist at Reuters Breakingviews has resigned after multiple breaches of the Thomson Reuters <TRI.N > TRI.TO code of conduct on share dealing, and cases involving other commentators are being investigated.

“While we have no evidence the journalist was abusing his position for financial gain, we take such breaches extremely seriously and that journalist resigned with immediate effect during our investigation,” said Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger in a note to staff on Monday.

Schlesinger added that several other cases had come to light as a result of questioning Reuters Breakingviews staff where disclosures to readers or managers could or should have been made.

The investigations continue and none of the journalists involved have been named.

Schlesinger said the columnist wrote commentary about companies in which he had a financial interest and made trades shortly afterwards.

The Reuters code of conduct forbids journalists from writing about shares they own unless they notify their interest to their manager and from dealing in shares about which they have written recently or intend to write in the near future.

Breakingviews will be adding a disclaimer to all relevant archived columns to say whether the commentators held shares in the companies at the time and if they traded them shortly before or after publication.

Thomson Reuters said it was reviewing procedures and training and had called on all Reuters staff to review their involvement in the financial markets to make sure they were complying with the code.

It is not currently a standard requirement that Thomson Reuters columnists and news staff declare any relevant securities holdings at the foot of columns and stories, but this policy is now being reviewed.

Reporting by Chris Wickham, Company News Editor in Charge, EMEA; Editing by Andrew Callus