The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht or BaFin) has imposed the largest fine in the history of the regulator totaling EUR 3.25m on BlackRock Investment Management (UK) Ltd.
According to German regulations, investors in listed companies have to notify BaFin and the relevant issuers when certain holding thresholds are crossed. Once the holdings of a company reach or fall below the thresholds of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 15, 30, 50 or 75 per cent by way of acquisition, disposal or in any other way, BlackRock was obliged to report the changes.
The U.K. subsidiary of the company has announced that it will accept the fine, after the German regulator determined that the BlackRock group companies had previously disclosed their holdings of voting rights and financial instruments incorrectly or late, in contravention of the Securities Trading Act (Wertpapierhandelsgesetz – WpHG).
According to the announcement which BaFin made on the matter, the incorrect or late disclosures were occurred due to misrepresentation of German disclosure rules and related to a number of German large cap issuers.
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BlackRock approached the German regulator in July 2014 and was in close cooperation with BaFin for the resolution of the issue and has corrected and caught up on the disclosures concerned at the end of September 2014.
The company has also introduced a set of internal measures in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
The disclosures about shareholder structure of publicly traded companies are a very important mechanism for making investment decisions. Listed companies must publish the disclosure of the above mentioned thresholds in a timely manner, at the latest within three trading days.
The German regulator BaFin provides investors with the published disclosures on its website.