The Securities and Futures Commission has for the first time punished a broker-columnist for using his investment column in the Apple Daily for personal gain.
Sky Cheung Shi-gaii, who was a broker at Quam Securities when dispensing stock tips in his column between 2008 and 2010, has been suspended from working in the local investment industry for 30 months, until October 2015, and fined HK$500,000. He has left Quam.
The SFC said Cheung was penalised for "trading with a concealed securities account, putting himself in a conflict-of-interest position and making false and inaccurate declarations in a newspaper investment column", and that he used his column to make profits from his own trades on 25 occasions between March 2009 and March 2010.
"Cheung made a profit … by selling part or all of the stocks in his wife's securities accounts, after making positive comments or favourable recommendations in his Apple Daily column on the same day or within three business days after its publication," the SFC said in a statement yesterday, adding that Cheung traded his wife's account himself. "Cheung had instructed his assistant to delay the publication of favourable comments on certain stocks until the stocks were purchased in his wife's accounts."
Cheung made a profit of about HK$500,000, the amount of the fine he must now pay.
Cheung had not disclosed the stocks in his wife's accounts when he recommended them. The SFC requires brokers writing columns to declare if they or their relatives hold the stocks in question. Cheung also breached the SFC code by not disclosing his wife's trading account.