Reuters Breakingviews columnist resigns, others being probed

Oct 18, 2010
A columnist for Reuters Breakingviews has resigned after violating the Thomson Reuters code of conduct on trading shares and other commentators at the financial news and analysis service are being investigated, the news agency said Monday.

A columnist for Reuters Breakingviews has resigned after violating the Thomson Reuters code of conduct on trading shares and other commentators at the financial news and analysis service are being investigated, the news agency said Monday.

Reuters, in a story about the resignation, said the Reuters Breakingviews had been involved in "multiple breaches" of the .

Reuters did not name the columnist who resigned but Britain's Guardian newspaper identified him as London-based Neil Collins, a veteran British financial journalist.

According to the Guardian, Collins failed to declare his ownership of shares in a number of companies he covered including BP and Marks & Spencer.

Reuters quoted editor-in-chief David Schlesinger as saying the columnist had written about companies in which he had a financial interest and made trades shortly afterwards.

"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," Schlesinger was quoted as telling Reuters staff.

Schlesinger said several other cases were being investigated.

Reuters said its code of conduct forbids journalists from writing about companies whose shares they own unless they notify management of their holdings.

It said journalists are also prohibited from dealing in shares about which they have written recently or about which they intend to write in the near future.

Reuters said it was not currently a requirement that columnists and news staff declare relevant securities holdings at the foot of their columns or stories but the policy is under review.

Thomson Reuters bought Breakingviews in December 2009.

Its syndication partners include The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, The Daily Telegraph, Le Monde, El Pais and other newspapers.

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