Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has banned a former Hang Seng Bank staffer from re-entering the industry for life.

Alex Chow Ho Kuen, a former customer services manager at Hang Seng Bank, was sentenced on April 11 to 44 months in prison, following counts of theft, fraud and dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence.

Between January 2007 and January 2009, Chow made unauthorised fund withdrawals from his clients’ accounts and transferred them to his sister’s account without her knowledge.

The SFC says Chow’s conduct was dishonest and ultimately caused significant monetary losses to his clients' accounts estimated at over HK$5 million ($640,000).

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority had referred the case to the SFC.

Chow had been licensed to carry on type 1 (dealing in securities), type 4 (advising on securities) and type 7 (providing automated trading services) regulated activities from May 2004 to February 2009.

In a separate case, the Court of First Instance dismissed the SFC’s appeal against the decision to acquit Liang Jiang on charges of false trading during the global financial crisis in 2008.

Liang placed orders for the Foundation China Opportunity Fund, and his wholly owned company Bridge Investment Advisors, to buy shares in Shun Ho Resources Holdings and Shun Ho Technology Holdings on the last trading days each month between June and December 2008.

The SFC argues that these share purchases intentionally raised the closing prices of both companies, and therefore “pumped up” the month-end net asset values of the fund during this period.

Liang maintained these trades were conducted to rebalance the fund’s portfolio rather than false trading.

The SFC appealed Liang’s acquittal by the Eastern Magistracy, and the Court of First Instance dismissed the appeal today. The regulator will study today’s judgement before deciding whether to launch a further appeal.