Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market surveillance at the FCA, said: “Private disclosure of inside information, particularly by the chairman of a listed issuer, jeopardizes investor confidence and integrity of financial markets.

“Sir Christopher did not properly apply his mind to the question of what information he could properly divulge.

“Inside information is not a private good for those who have privileged access to it.

“The law requires that inside information be disclosed properly and not to major shareholders or others before announcements, as in this case.”

The FCA found that the information was leaked after Convatec entered into a confidentiality and non-dealing obligation agreement with one of its biggest investors. The watchdog said the city big should have known not to share the information given his training and experience.

Sir Christopher is one of the city’s most renowned figures, having held a series of senior positions in top-tier corporations on either side of the Atlantic.

While chief executive of Vodafone, he struck one of the biggest hostile deals in the company’s history when the mobile phone titan staged a $183 billion takeover. pounds sterling) of its German rival Mannesman in 2000.

The mammoth acquisition then turned sour when Vodafone was forced to issue a £28billion goodwill charge, in one of the largest post-acquisition write-downs on record.

The FCA focused on when Sir Christopher wrongly disclosed the information to the investor around two working days before the information was released.

Shares of Convatec fell more than a third on the day news broke in 2018 that chief executive Paul Moraviec was leaving and his growth forecast would be lowered.

Sir Christopher said in a statement that he was encouraged to share the information as he believed it was acting in the best interests of the company.

He added: “I am very disappointed that the FCA was held against me in circumstances where I thought I had sought advice and received encouragement to act as I did.

“The decision recognizes the steps I took to seek advice at the time and did not call into question my belief that I was acting in the best interests of the company.”

Mr Stewart added: ‘We will continue to rigorously enforce breaches when we see them to ensure this important principle remains front and center in the minds of issuers and their senior executives.’

A spokesperson for Convatec said: “The FCA has taken no action against the company. This is a personal matter for Sir Christopher Gent and it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.”

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This notice was published: 2022-08-05 17:19:50