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Report, not court action, for Goldman Sachs

Trading by Goldman Sachs New Zealand might have been misleading but that will not be tested in court, the Financial Markets Authority says.

Wednesday, November 15th 2017, 7:30PM

It has been investigating Goldman Sachs' trading activity since concerns arose during its investigation into trading by Mark Warminger and Milford Asset Management.

The trades involved A2 Milk and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, in 2014.

The Fisher & Paykel Healthcare trading was on the same day as Warminger's trade was found to have manipulated the market.

The regulator said the trading in question may have been in breach of section 11B of the Securities Market Act 1988 by creating a false or misleading appearance to the price and supply of securities - the same offence Warminger was ordered to pay $400,000 for committing.

But in a statement it said that pursuing enforcement action in court would not have been appropriate or the best way to achieve regulatory objectives. It would have involved significant cost, time and resources that would outweigh the potential benefits.

GS has explained the alleged misconduct to the FMA as facilitating trades for a client. Since the trading covered in the report, GS has ceased operating as a trading participant in the New Zealand market.

As well as the report, the FMA said it would work with the NZX to ensure its participant rules were updated to require traders to maintain voice recordings.

It would also require the stock exchange operator to review facilitation practices by traders and "continue to engage with brokers and fund managers to ensure the lessons from the Mark Warminger judgment on market manipulation are adopted by firms".

It is to consult with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to consider a law change to allow the FMA to refer issues straight to the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal, or create another disciplinary tribunal for this purpose.

FMA chief executive Rob Everett said: “Capital markets growth and integrity is a key FMA strategic priority. Successful markets rely on confident participation and any activity which threatens market integrity reduces confidence from investors and the public.

“We had a difficult decision in terms of what the appropriate regulatory response was in this instance. Ultimately, we decided that our regulatory objectives would best be met by issuing the report.”
He said publishing the results of its investigation enabled it to demonstrate lessons for the industry.

"We’ll continue to engage with industry to ensure they are clear about the standards of conduct, governance, systems and controls we expect, and use this report as the basis of discussions with brokers.”

Tags: conduct FMA Market Manipulation Milford Asset Management MoBIE NZX regulation Rob Everett

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