GERMANY - Financial services watchdog BaFin has confirmed it has found evidence of insider trading in Porsche shares by a Frankfurt-based asset manager.

BaFin, which oversees securities trading, told IPE that it had passed on its findings to the public prosecutor in Frankfurt. The prosecutor will now launch its own investigation. If BaFin's findings are confirmed, it can indict the as yet unnamed asset manager.

German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported that the asset manager had sold nearly 22,000 Porsche shares shortly before the car maker acquired a 20% stake in Volkswagen in September 2005. The share trades brought in €15m for the asset manager.

When the deal was announced on September 25 2005, Porsche's shares took a nosedive, losing 11% for the day. "BaFin's investigators have found evidence that the asset manager in Frankfurt knew about Porsche's entry in advance," the magazine said, adding that the tip may have come from VW itself.

Queried by IPE, neither VW nor Porsche had any comment on the article.

Citing investigators, WirtschaftsWoche also said the asset manager "is part of a foreign finance company whose investment bankers have advised VW in the past". BaFin declined to comment on this.

In Frankfurt, there are several foreign banks that offer investment banking and asset management to institutional clients. US houses JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as well as France-based BNP Paribas are just a few.

In other news, Union Investment said Ulrich Koall had today joined the management board of Union PanAgora, its joint venture with Boston-based asset manager Panagora.

Union said the 39-year-old Koall had taken responsibility for sales and clients as well as investment operations at the venture.

A specialist in quantitative asset management, UnionPanAgora had €9bn under management on behalf of institutional clients on October 31.

Union and Panagora each hold a 40% stake in the venture, with UnionPanAgora's management holding the remaining 20%.