30 Jun 2017

Investment manager to pay $400k for manipulating share prices

8:18 pm on 30 June 2017

A former investment manager has been ordered to pay $400,000 for manipulation of sharemarket prices.

The High Court imposed the penalty on Mark Warminger for two counts of manipulating prices when he worked with Milford Asset Management in 2014.

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) brought a civil case for 10 alleged breaches of securities laws, and in March the court upheld two.

The Authority had said Mr Warminger's aggressive trading had been aimed at misleading other market participants and had undermined the integrity of financial markets and public confidence in them.

Mr Warminger is appealing the original judgement and the FMA is cross-appealing.

"The Court has found it was deliberate conduct by a very experienced market trader in an attempt to take advantage of parties on the other side of the transaction," Justice Geoffrey Venning said in penalty judgement.

The judge said the starting point for penalties was $500,000, but he reduced that by $100,000 because of Mr Warminger's personal circumstances and health.

He said Mr Warminger had made little profit from the trading, but would no longer be able to work in the financial sector and would automatically be banned from being involved in the management of any company for five years.

A criminal conviction for the charges could have seen Mr Warminger get a jail sentence.

The FMA said it was considering the latest judgement.

Milford Asset Management denied any liability for the trading but paid the FMA $1.5 million to settle the issue.