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Hedge Funds Hacked into Bank of England Briefings to Gain Financial Advantage

High-speed traders could have received a vital advantage over the rest of the market by listening to the audio of the Bank of England’s press conferences a few seconds before the official broadcast.

High-speed traders could have received a vital advantage over the rest of the market by listening to the audio of the Bank of England’s press conferences a few seconds before the official broadcast.

Hedge funds have hacked into briefings from the Bank of England ahead of the rest of the market in an attempt to make a quick profit.

High-speed traders could have received a vital advantage over the rest of the market by listening to the audio of the Bank of England’s press conferences a few seconds before the official broadcast.

Press reports revealed that hedge funds had gained access to the audio feed of the Bank of England press conferences up to eight seconds before live broadcasts, because video takes longer to buffer.

Following an internal investigation, the Bank confirmed that a third party supplier “misused” an audio feed of certain of the Bank press conferences since earlier this year. The audio was installed to serve as a back-up in case the video failed.

The Bank called the practice “wholly unacceptable” and said that it has referred the case to the Financial Conduct Authority regulator. The Bank disabled the unnamed third party supplier’s access. Bloomberg provides the main video feed.

Gaining access to England financial regulator’s press conferences seconds ahead of the market can be highly lucrative to high-speed traders, many of whom invest in the technology that would allow them to execute thousands of transactions in the fraction of a second. The governor Mark Carney’s comments often move the value of the pound and gilts.

According to the investigation, first reported in The Times, the problem has been ongoing since the start of the year. The third party supplier had passed the audio to one of its other companies, which sold it through a market news service that charged £2,500-5,000 a press conference per each client on top of a subscription fee.

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