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Aviva funds arm tightens trade controls after rule breaches

A man walks past an AVIVA logo outside the company's head office in the city of London March 5, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

By Chris Vellacott and Simon Jessop

LONDON (Reuters) - British insurance group Aviva (LSE:AV.) has toughened oversight of trading activities at its fund management arm after discovering breaches of dealing policy between 2006 and 2012, according to a company filing.

Aviva Investors says it has set aside up to 92 million pounds to cover potential claims related to breaches of dealing policies regarding "allocation of gilt trades between 2006 and 2012", according to financial statements filed at Companies House.

The firm blamed the breaches on two former employees who it did not name and said it had conducted an internal probe which was reviewed by auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Controls have been tightened and implementation of the recommendations from this review will help ensure that we meet best practice and our policies and procedures are robust," Aviva said, adding it had also informed regulators.

In a separate letter to clients of Aviva Investors dated December 9 2013 and signed by the division's stand-in boss John Misselbrook, the firm says customers "will not be disadvantaged."

An Aviva spokesman declined to comment beyond the contents of the two documents.

The provision for possible compensation comes at an inauspicious time for the division, coinciding with the arrival of its new Chief Executive Euan Munro who joins from rival Standard Life (LSE:SL.).

Aviva Investors is at the centre of a group wide turnaround being driven by the insurer's chief executive Mark Wilson, who joined last year after a shareholder rebellion led to the departure of his predecessor.

Misselbrook's letter to clients also highlights the closure of its hedge fund operations, which make up 0.2 percent of its 246 billion pounds in assets, on the basis they "no longer fit with the future investment proposition."

Aviva reports full year earnings for 2013 on March 6.

(Additional reporting by Nigel Hilditch; Editing by Louise Heavens)