Compliance

Ex-Towry Advisor Banned For Insider Dealing Before Takeover Of Ashcourt Rowan

Amisha Mehta, Deputy Editor, London, 16 May 2016

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The UK's Financial Conduct Authority has banned and fined a former advisor at UK wealth manager Towry for market abuse.

Mark Taylor, a former financial advisor at Towry, has been fined £36,285 ($52,297) and banned from the industry for at least two years for insider dealing off the back of information that the company had upped its offer to acquire Ashcourt Rowan.

In March last year, an internal email was accidentally sent to all Towry staff stating that the company had increased its offer for fellow wealth manager Ashcourt Rowan from £2.70 per share to £3.49 a share. After trying to recall the message, the company sent another email to staff warning them not to act on the information as it was potentially inside information.

Taylor then used his online trading account to buy 5,582 shares in Ashcourt Rowan for £15,011.82. After the public announcement of the increased offer, he sold his shares for £18,509.91, making a profit of £3,498. The next day, he contacted his broker to ask whether it was possible to reverse the trade as he feared that he may be guilty of insider dealing. The broker declined and reported the trade to the FCA as suspicious.

As a result, Taylor, who had worked at Towry for two and a half years, was dismissed from the company for gross misconduct.

“There can be no let-up in tackling insider dealing and this case shows the consequences will be grave and serious ones for perpetrators, even in small cases like this one,” said Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA.

Towry completed its acquisition of Ashcourt Rowan in May 2015. Towry is now in the process of being acquired by rival UK wealth manager Tilney Bestinvest.

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