Warminger withdraws appeal

High Court finding of market manipulation stands.

Fund manager Mark Warminger has withdrawn his appeal against a High Court finding of market manipulation, the Financial Markets Authority said this morning.

A pecuniary penalty of $400,000 imposed by the court last month will stand. Mr Warminger also faces a mandatory five-year management ban.

The FMA said it had withdrawn its cross appeal as a result and the civil action is now complete.

Mr Warminger, a portfolio manager with Milford Asset Management, was found to have manipulated the market in relation to two trading sequences involving the shares of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and A2 Milk in 2014.

FMA chief executive Rob Everett said the outcome showed there were serious consequences for misconduct.

“Market participants and the public want to know that the law is being upheld and, where there are instances of market manipulation and misconduct, those responsible will be held to account. We are satisfied our regulatory objectives have been achieved in taking these proceedings.

“Maintaining and promoting the integrity of New Zealand’s financial markets is a core part of our mandate and we will continue to respond vigorously where we see misconduct.”

The pecuniary penalty will go toward the FMA’s costs.

On June 18, 2015, the FMA announced an agreement with Milford Asset Management arising from this trading conduct. Milford and its board accepted responsibility for inadequate oversight and control of the trading conduct, and the failure to identify and monitor the activity or to assess whether the activity was appropriate.

Milford made a payment in lieu of a penalty of $1.1 million and contributed $400,000 to the FMA’s cost of the investigation. It has completed implementing changes to its trading systems and controls recommended in an external review by PwC.

Read the documents:

• The judgment (March 3, 2017)
• The penalty decision (June 30, 2017)

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