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November 24, 2009

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Life ban set on ex-banker in HK

HONG Kong regulators yesterday banned a former banker at one of Asia's top stock brokerages from the territory's financial industry for life after he was jailed for insider trading.

Allen Lam, former investment banking director at broker CLSA, was sentenced to six months in prison and fined HK$69,000 (US$9,000) by a Hong Kong court in July. Lam was accused of tipping off a former fund manager about JCDecaux Pearl & Dean Ltd's proposed takeover of Media Partners International Holdings Inc in 2005. CLSA advised JCDecaux on the deal.

Lam's accomplice, former HSZ (Hong Kong) Ltd fund manager Ryan Fong, then bought shares in Media Partners and dumped them once the deal was announced for a profit of HK$1.03 million for himself and HK$3.39 million for an HSZ fund. Fong received a one-year jail term and was fined nearly HK$1.4 million.

Yesterday, Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission said in a statement it has banned Lam from the financial industry for life.

Lam was licensed by regulators as a corporate finance adviser. Under the ban, he cannot reapply for any licenses issued by the SFC. The statement did not mention any disciplinary action against Fong.

Lam's conviction in July was the eighth involving insider dealing the SFC had secured in the past year, as Hong Kong seeks to tighten regulation after insider trading was made a criminal offense in 2003.


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