A back-up audio feed of press conferences given by the Bank of England was hijacked to release market-moving news to hedge fund managers ahead of official announcements.
In a statement, the Bank says the feed was misused by an unnamed third party supplier who reputedly charged clients a subscription fee and £5000 per use. The service gave high-speed traders an eight-second advantage over rivals to move on the sensitive information.
In a statement, the Bank says: "We have recently identified that an audio feed of certain of the Bank press conferences - installed only to act as a back-up in case the video feed failed - has been misused by a third party supplier to the Bank since earlier this year to supply services to other external clients. This wholly unacceptable use of the audio feed was without the Bank’s knowledge or consent, and is being investigated further.
"The Bank operates the highest standards of information security around the release of the market sensitive decisions of its policy committees. The issue identified related only to the broadcast of press conferences that follow such statements.”
The central bank says it has disabled access to audio back-up and banished the supplier in question from future press conferences. The issue has been referred to financial regulator the FCA for further investigation.