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Aviva Hit With $221 Million Cost From Improper Hedge Fund Trades

Aviva Plc took a 132 million pound ($221 million) charge after saying two former employees breached its trading policy since 2006 to the benefit of external hedge funds.

The insurer, which today reported full-year results, said it found evidence last year of “improper allocation of trades” in fixed income by Aviva Investors from 2006 to 2012. Aviva, which has notified regulators about the improper trades, first disclosed them in a letter to clients in December.

“These breaches of our dealing policy involved late allocation of trades which favored external hedge funds to the detriment of certain Aviva U.K. Life funds,” London-based Aviva said in a statement today. “Measures to improve controls have been implemented.”

Aviva Investors, the insurer’s investment unit, fired 6 percent of its staff last year as part of wider jobs cuts announced by the parent company in April. The unit’s new chief executive officer Euan Munro joined in January after he was lured from Edinburgh-based Standard Life Investments last year.

Aviva said the total cost to operating profit from the improper trades includes the “compensation” of 126 million pounds that is expected to be claimed in respect of the breaches and other “associated costs” of 6 million pounds, according to the statement. Aviva Investors contributed 3 percent to Aviva’s overall operating profit in 2013.

The company said management conducted a review of its internal control processes relating to the investment unit’s dealing policy, which was overseen by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Aviva didn’t name the former employees or the external hedge funds. A Financial Conduct Authority spokesman declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg News today.

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