Investment banks quiz staff on Newcrest

Banks conducting internal probes to pre-empt any moves by ASIC against analysts.

Investment banks are running internal probes on analysts who may have been selectively briefed by Newcrest Mining Ltd, in a likely attempt to shore up against investigations by both the gold miner and the corporate watchdog, according to The Australian Financial Review.  

Some investment banks have been collecting emails from analysts who cover Newcrest, with one analyst who was interviewed by his employer's compliance team saying the experience was "harrowing", the newspaper said. 

Newcrest today officially denied it selectively briefed analysts ahead of announcing the writedowns last week, in a formal response to the exchange operator.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is investigating accusations that Newcrest Mining Ltd selectively briefed analysts ahead of the a shock announcment of $6 billion in writedowns on June 7.

Prior to the announcement, brokers at six banks downgraded their Newcrest earnings estimates, sending the miner's share price sharply lower (see our latest video, "What should investors do about Newcrest?").

Newcrest has also launched an internal probe, bringing in former ASX chairman Maurice Newman to conduct an independent review. 

Newcrest  has not denied that any analyst meetings took place.

Analysts found to have obtained insider information could be prosecuted for sharing the information with fund managers who made use of the information in their trading.

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