10 Apr 2019

Insider trading case settled for $150,000

8:54 am on 10 April 2019

Mark Talbot, an accountant and former chief financial officer of a public technology company, has settled with the financial markets regulator after admitting insider trading.

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Photo: 123RF

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) accepted Mr Talbot's offer to pay $150,000 and be barred from managing any listed company for the next five years.

It brought the insider trading case against Mr Talbot last year, over $10,000 worth of shares he bought in the company VMob, now known as Plexure, in 2014.

Mr Talbot admitted he had material information about a $4.8 million deal the company was about to sign with fast food operator McDonald's in Japan, at the time of the undisclosed share purchases.

FMA head of regulation Karen Chang said the court-approved settlement was appropriate.

"The FMA is satisfied this resolution is a proportionate and appropriate response to Mr Talbot's misconduct," Ms Chang said.

Court documents showed Mr Talbot was a chartered accountant at a large firm and he acted as a chief financial officer of VMob through his personal contracting company.

As part of his role he was responsible for informing staff about trading policies and personally sent emails stressing its importance, although he was acting contrary to that policy.

Mr Talbot said he bought the shares on behalf of his father, through an investment company they co-owned, which he later agreed was no defence for his actions.

The FMA withdrew the insider trading charge against Mr Talbot, and as part of a settlement in February he pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to disclose a relevant interest, breaching the Securities Markets Act.

"We have met our regulatory objectives in holding the individual to account for their misconduct, censuring the particular offences and providing important lessons to the market on the application of the law," Ms Chang said.

"Where it is possible to achieve our objectives without the need to spend time and public resource in lengthy court proceedings, then we will do so on the merits of each case, particularly where the final outcome would be less certain and subject to the risks of litigation process."