Embattled STM Group Suspends Shares On London's AIM; Buys Malta Business

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 13 November 2017


Hit by the arrest of its CEO for an alleged reporting failing, the group said its shares had been suspended on London's AIM. Meanwhile, STM said it had entered an agreement to buy a Maltese business.

Cross-border financial services provider STM Group, whose chief executive has been arrested for failing to disclose potential laundering information to Gibraltar’s financial intelligence unit, today announced that its shares have been suspended from trading on London’s Alternative Investment Market, pending a further announcement. STM also announced today that it had entered an agreement to buy a pensions business in Malta.

Trading in STM's shares were suspended from 07:30 GMT today, it said in a statement. 

Alan Kentish, STM Group’s CEO, was arrested by authorities in Gibraltar more than a fortnight ago. This news organisation is in touch with Gibraltar authorities about the matter and may update with further details in due course. Requests for comment had not been returned at the time of going to press.

STM provides financial service products to professional intermediaries and administers assets for high net worth international clients in relation to retirement, estate and succession planning and wealth structuring. It has operations in the UK, Gibraltar, Malta, Jersey and Spain. The business has an international pensions division which specialises in Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) and Qualifying Non UK Pension Schemes (QNUPS). It also has a Gibraltarian Life Insurance Company, STM Life plc, which provides life insurance bonds - wrappers in which a variety of investments, including investment funds, can be held.

Today’s statement by STM gave no further details on the matter. In a 30 October statement on its website, STM said that advice given to Kentish and the firm is that the allegations against the CEO “have no merit”. 

The 30 October statement said: “In November 2015 the ultimate beneficial owner of the client, who has been a client of STM's for over 15 years, became involved in a tax dispute between two countries for the years 2008 to 2013 over their respective taxing rights to the taxes correctly paid by him. At that time and until it was clear that the issue was a tax dispute, Mr Kentish followed compliance procedures in filing two relevant Suspicious Activity Reports with STM's Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO), both of which were externalized by the MLRO to the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit (GFIU). Under current Gibraltar legislation, the GFIU must respond within fourteen days if it wishes to direct any action to be taken, with a lack of response from the GFIU being acceptance by them for STM to continue as normal. No such response was received by STM's MLRO.” 

“Accordingly, the board of STM is fully supportive of Mr Kentish's actions in relation to this matter. Furthermore, the board of STM is profoundly disappointed with the current situation and is confident the matter will be resolved in Mr Kentish's favour in the very near future,” it said. 

STM, which last September acquired the UK based, London & Colonial Group, and a head office in Gibraltar, is reviewing where its head office should be, given its operational requirements.

Malta acquisition
Also today, STM Group announced it has entered a deal to acquire all the issued share capital of Malta’s Harbour Pensions Limited. That acquision is subject to regulatory approval by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Harbour is a licensed retirement scheme administrator based in Malta, incorporating four registered pension schemes with some 1,600 Members and audited revenues in the year to 31 December 2016 of £1.1 million.



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