Business

Ex-Vodafone boss Sir Christopher Gent fined £80,000 for leaking inside information

Mark Steward, Executive Director for Enforcement and Markets Supervision at the FCA, said: “The private disclosure of inside information, particularly by the director of a listed issuer, threatens investor confidence and the integrity of financial markets.

“Sir Christopher has failed to properly focus on what information he can properly disclose.

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

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

The FCA found that the information was disclosed even though Convatec had a confidentiality and non-commercial commitment agreement with one of its largest investors. The watchdog said the grandee should have known not to share the information because of his training and experience.

Sir Christopher is one of the city’s most prominent figures, having held a number of influential positions in blue chip companies on both sides of the Atlantic.

As CEO of Vodafone, he secured one of the biggest hostile deals in the company’s history when the mobile titan acquired German competitor Mannesman for $183 billion (£152 billion) in 2000.

The mammoth acquisition later turned sour when Vodafone was forced to pay a £28bn goodwill fee.

The FCA focused on when Sir Christopher unlawfully leaked the information to the investor about two business days before the information was released.

Convatec’s shares fell more than a third on the day it was announced in 2018 that CEO Paul Moraviec was leaving the company and its growth forecasts would be cut.

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

He added: “I am very disappointed that the FCA have investigated me in circumstances where I felt 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 take rigorous action against breaches where we come across them to ensure this important principle is high on the minds of issuers and their officers.”

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

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/05/ex-vodafone-boss-sir-christopher-gent-fined-80000-leaking-inside/ Ex-Vodafone boss Sir Christopher Gent fined £80,000 for leaking inside information

Russell Falcon

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