Milford: Warminger's decision to fight FMA a personal one

Milford Asset Management is moving to assure clients that it is “business as usual” as a portfolio manager prepares for a legal fight over market manipulation.

Saturday, September 10th 2016, 6:00AM

The Financial Markets Authority’s civil case against Mark Warminger is due to start next Monday and is set down for four weeks.

The FMA has already reached a $1.5m settlement with Warminger’s employer, Milford.

In a note to clients, the fund manager warned there was likely to be “some media coverage” of the trial but that it was focused on continuing to deliver returns to investors.

“In order for the business and our clients to move forward, we determined the best course of action was to enter into a full and final settlement agreement with the FMA.  No further action against Milford will occur.

"The only role Milford has in the current proceedings is that Brian Gaynor will be called to give background evidence,” it said.

It said the FMA’s claims related to a small number of trades in 2014 and there were no questions over the security of client funds.

“Clients’ monies have always been and remain safe and unaffected.  We have reviewed our trading activities oversight and are confident we operate to best market practice. This is a civil test case for the industry on how the relevant law applies to trading practices.  We believe the issues are not clear cut.  It is a personal decision for Mr Warminger to defend the claims, and he remains on extended leave from Milford while the FMA’s claims are being decided.”

The FMA alleges Warminger misused his privileged position with an institutional investor to trade shares not for a genuine commercial purpose but to increase their market price so that he could then transact significant off-market sales at a greater profit.

Tags: Milford Asset Management

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