New FSA boss vows crackdown on insider trading

Bloomberg

The new financial services minister, Tadahiro Matsushita, pledged to deepen his agency’s investigation into the insider trading that has undermined confidence in the country’s financial markets.

“We just can’t overlook” the issue, Matsushita, 73, told reporters late Monday after he joined Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s Cabinet. “We need to strictly deal with this, while continuing to investigate cases.”

Matsushita will take over probes that the Financial Services Agency and its watchdog arm, the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, are carrying out on information leaks ahead of share sales, including the stocks of Nippon Sheet Glass Co., Inpex Corp., Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. The SESC is also probing underwriters of the stock offerings.

He will also seek to rebuild confidence damaged by corporate scandals, including the massive accounting fraud at Olympus Corp. and AIJ Investment Advisors Co.’s concealment of close to ¥110 billion.

The Topix plunged Monday to its lowest level since 1983, entering a bear market after disappointing U.S. jobs and China services data added to evidence the global economy is slowing.

Matsushita pledged to avoid a repeat of the AIJ case, which spurred authorities to conduct checks on 265 fund managers in March.

The government is unlikely to further extend a moratorium on loan repayments by small businesses that expires next March, he said.

The Lower House lawmaker has replaced Shozaburo Jimi. Both belong to Kokumin Shinto (People’s New Party), a junior member of Noda’s ruling bloc.