Reuters columnist resigns over share rules breach

Reuters columnist resigns over share rules breach

A Reuters journalist has resigned for failing to disclose financial interests in firms that he wrote about for the wire's Breakingviews service.

Reuters Breakingviews columnist Neil Collins - former City editor at the Daily Telegraph - offered to resign for breaking the company's code of conduct. He failed to declare that he owned shares in several companies, including BP and Marks & Spencer, when writing about them.

Among a total of 53 Breakingviews articles to have broken rules, Collins wrote 39, with the rest penned by two other journalists who are still with the company. All of the articles have now been updated to include disclaimers.

In a statement on its Web site, Reuters says: "We have recently discovered a number of cases where journalists have written about securities without notifying their interest to their manager; or dealt in securities about which they had written recently or intended to write in the near future; or failed to make disclaimers of their financial interests to readers when their prior practice suggests it would have been appropriate to do so."

In an e-mail to Breakingviews editor Hugo Dixon, obtained by the Guardian, Collins says he committed a "serious, but technical breach of the rules" and adds: "I am saddened and embarrassed by my breaches of the rules and hope that you will shortly be able to draw a line under this unfortunate episode."

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