Hong Kong’s securities regulator yesterday banned Steven Barrett from re-entering the industry for 10 months because he had concealed from two former employers – Black’s Link Capital and Myriad Asset Management – his personal securities transactions.
The ban is effective from 13 January 2016 to 12 October 2016.
From April 2010 to September 2013, Barrett had concealed his personal trades by conducting them through the personal securities account of his friend, Fabiano Mascolo, a licensed representative of another firm at the material time.
Barrett’s conduct circumvented the employee-dealing policies of his employers and made it difficult for them to identify and monitor his personal trading activities to ensure there were no conflicts of interests or other malpractices arising from his personal trading.
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) considers Barrett’s conduct calls into question his fitness and properness to be a licensed person. In deciding the penalty, the SFC has taken into account that Barrett’s concealment of his personal trading activities from his employers was deliberate and dishonest.
Barrett was licensed as a representative to carry on type 9 (asset management) regulated activity. He was accredited to Black’s Link from January 29, 2010 to May 27, 2011 and Myriad AM from November 25, 2011 to April 28, 2014.
This follows the SFC’s December 23, 2015 suspension of Mascolo, an employee of brokerage BTIG Hong Kong, for three months from December 21, 2015 to March 20, 2016. Mascolo had received order instructions in October 2013 from a client via WhatsApp messaging on his mobile phone. This was in breach of his employer BTIG’s internal control policy.
He had also allowed a friend, Barrett, to use his personal securities account at BTIG, between April 2010 and September 2013, to conduct personal trades without obtaining prior written consent from Barrett’s then employers.
Mascolo’s conduct, in breach of the Code of Conduct, made it difficult for his employer to properly monitor his trading activities and to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
His conduct also made it impossible for his friend’s employers to identify and effectively monitor his friend’s personal trading activities to ensure there were no conflicts of interests or other malpractices arising from his personal trading.
Mascolo was licensed as a representative under to carry on type 1 (dealing in securities) regulated activities and was accredited to BTIG Hong Kong from December 7, 2011 to November 22, 2013.
He was subsequently accredited to MCM Asia (trading as MCM Partners) from December 18, 2014 to October 30, 2015. Mascolo is currently not accredited to any licensed corporation.