Engie condemned for a few tenths of a second of trading

Engie fined 80,000 euros for a few tenths of a second of trading. This decision from the Dispute Resolution and Sanctions Committee of the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE), seized on February 25, 2020, concerns non-compliance with a European regulation on the transparency of the wholesale energy market .

“Insider Trading”?

Engie was accused of a sort of internal insider trading (term not used by CRE), due in particular to oral transmissions of information within the company, and in particular not having installed at the time a technical mechanism for automatically freezing the screens of members of its trading teams during the dissemination within the group of operational information likely to have an influence on the market.

The record thus establishes “that on January 23, 2017 between 06:01:08 and 06:01:17, a member of the Short Term trading team used inside information”indicates the text of the committee published in the OJ.

While the announcement of the extension of the shutdown of a production plant of the group (Combigolfe) was published at 06:01:24, it noted five purchase transactions recorded just before, between 06:01: 08 and 06:01:17, on the intraday short-term market, concerning products to which the information described as “inside” relates until it is public.

A “human error”

Engie does not dispute these transactions, which it describes as “human error” committed “without any intention of disregarding the rules”and stresses that the transactions carried out “had no impact on the market”.

“A financial penalty of 80,000 euros is pronounced against the company Engie”, indicates the text which must also be published in the next financial press release from Engie on July 29.

This is the lowest fine provided. It could have amounted to more than 4 billion euros (8% of the group’s turnover excluding taxes).

Engie had invoked in particular the “brevity of the events” and “the absence of repeated nature of the breaches”.

The committee for its part considered “particularly serious” the breaches committed. He notes that “the character of involuntary human error, since the behavior of the people in question was not based on a personal desire to make a profit, shows that the management system presented as rigorous was not able to prevent this type of error”. And welcomes the fact that Engie has since “adopted the necessary palliative measures”.

(with AFP)