Securities regulator alleges that analyst engaged in illegal insider trading and tipping
VANCOUVER, July 11, 2014 /CNW/ - The Executive Director of the British Columbia Securities Commission has issued a notice of hearing alleging that an analyst for a global institutional investor tipped his sister and engaged in illegal insider trading.
The notice alleges that while Hon Seng Lum (also known as Victor Lum) was in a special relationship with Baja Mining Corp., he instructed his sister, May Lee Chan Lum, to trade in shares of Baja. At the time he sent the instructions, Hon Seng was aware of material information that had not been generally disclosed regarding a cost overrun on the Boleo copper mine project. Both Hon Seng Lum and his sister are Singapore citizens, and Hon Seng was a resident of Hong Kong during the relevant period.
Baja is a B.C. reporting issuer with its head office and management located in Vancouver, B.C. At all material times, Baja had its securities listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and was quoted on the OCTQX. The Boleo project is Baja's sole asset.
Hon Seng was employed by Mount Kellett Capital (Hong Kong) Limited, a research center operated by Mount Kellett Capital Management LP, a global institutional investor. Hon Seng analysed and evaluated natural resource investments for MK Hong Kong. A condition of his employment was that he not trade in companies that he was evaluating.
The notice states that between May 15 and 17, 2012, Hon Seng, as a representative of MK Capital, participated in an on-site visit with management at the Boleo project. Pursuant to a non-disclosure agreement, Hon Seng was allowed access to detailed information regarding the cost overrun that had not been publicly disclosed.
The notice states that Hon Seng determined that the actual cost overrun was more significant than had been initially disclosed. Through a series of text messages on Friday, May 18, 2012, Hon Seng told May Lum to place a sell order on Baja shares, instructing her to "sell the baja shares tonite…so that half of our position is sold" and stressing to her that he "was counting on u."
On the same date, May Lum sold half of their position in Baja (182,500 shares). May Lum sold the shares through a Singaporean brokerage account of a British Virgin Islands company controlled by May Lum of which she was the sole beneficial account holder, thereby concealing Hon Seng's connection to the trades. Hon Seng also failed to report to his employer that he was trading in Baja shares.
The notice also alleges that between May and November, 2012, Hon Seng sent numerous text messages to May Lum with instructions to trade in securities of companies in MK Capital's portfolio of investments, some of which Hon Seng had been involved in assessing the investment potential.
BCSC staff contends that Hon Seng breached securities laws by using material information that had not been generally disclosed to trade securities. The shares were sold while Hon Seng was in a special relationship with Baja, and with knowledge of the cost overrun before such information was generally disclosed. Additionally, BCSC staff maintains that the alleged conduct of both Hon Seng and May Lum is contrary to the public interest.
These allegations have not been proven. Counsel for the Executive Director will apply to set dates for a hearing into the allegations before a panel of commissioners on September 2, 2014 at 9:00am.
You may view the notice of hearing on our website, www.bcsc.bc.ca, by typing Hon Seng Lum, May Lee Chan Lum, or 2014 BCSECCOM 273 in the search box. Information about disciplinary proceedings can be found in the Enforcement section of the BCSC website.
Please visit the Canadian Securities Administrators' Disciplined Persons List for information relating to persons disciplined by provincial securities regulators, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA).
About the British Columbia Securities Commission (www.bcsc.bc.ca)
The British Columbia Securities Commission is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating capital markets in British Columbia through the administration of the Securities Act. Our mission is to protect and promote the public interest by fostering:
- A securities market that is fair and warrants public confidence
- A dynamic and competitive securities industry that provides investment opportunities and access to capital
Learn how to protect yourself and become a more informed investor at www.investright.org
SOURCE British Columbia Securities Commission