On 8 March 2021, the FCA published a speech by its Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight, Mark Steward, at the Expert Forum: Market Abuse 2021.

Key points include:

Volumes and STORs

  • There was an overall increase in transactions and transaction reports by 34% in 2020.
  • Whilst total volumes for the year were lower than previous years, suspicious transaction and order reports (STORs) have returned to the expected levels across all asset classes.
  • Surveillance and investigation work over the last couple of years has reduced trading by certain actors whose trading prompted high numbers of STORs.
  • The quality of the STORs being received have remained high.
  • The market infrastructure has stood up to significant surges in trading volumes, especially during the initial lockdown period.
  • There has been an increase in proactive market monitoring during the year.

Market Monitoring, Short Positions etc

  • The FCA’s approach to short selling, which requires all short positions above 0.1% to be reported to it, and all positions over 0.5% to be disclosed publicly on a daily basis, gives the FCA and the market a very high degree of transparency over short selling positions.
  • There is a risk that new retail investors may become subject to misleading online marketing, as we have seen in the case of online scams and frauds during 2020.
  • New initiatives have been introduced, including, a new approach to short selling reporting which enables short positions to be reported on our Electronic Submission System (ESS) and a new measure for market cleanliness.
  • There was an increase in retail trading accounts in the UK during 2020, although a considerable number of opened accounts have not  been used. There are concerns that new retail investors may become subject to misleading online marketing.


  • The Potentially Anomalous Trading Ratio (PATR) introduced in September 2020, focusing on underlying trading behaviour around specified price sensitive announcements and assessing whether behaviour can be deemed anomalous, produced a figure of 6.7% anomalous trades for 2019 across around 958 price sensitive announcements, which is very close to the Abnormal Trading Volume (ATV) metric result for the same period.