Thailand's Financial Regulator, SEC Files Criminal Complaint Against Ex-Fund Manager and Accomplices for Front Running

The SEC filed a criminal complaint against Sopana Janeborvorn, a former mutual fund  manager who was then responsible for the

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The SEC filed a criminal complaint against Sopana Janeborvorn, a former mutual fund  manager who was then responsible for the operations of Kasikorn Asset Management Co., Ltd. (K-Asset) and SCB Asset Management Co., Ltd. (SCBAM), as well as the equity funds managed by both companies. Evidence indicated that she had performed her duty dishonestly in order to obtain unlawful gains for the benefit of herself and others, in violation of Section 311 of the Securities and Exchange Act B.E. 2535 (1992) (SEA). Phra Suthep Arpassaro (Panpai) and Vachala Pisitsak were also named in the complaint as aiders and abettors.

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With a referral from the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) concerning trading behaviors of some investors involving suspected collusion with personnel of asset management companies on practicing front running scheme, the SEC probed into the case and found that Sopana, who was K-Asset Vice President from November 2009 to November 2010 and SCBAM Senior Executive Vice President from February to March 2011 with duties as head of fund managers responsible for supervising the equity funds managed by both companies respectively, had committed dishonest acts by using information about the funds’ investment plans to trade securities for her personal or other persons’ gains (front running). Such trading activities were made through two securities trading accounts with assistance from Phra Suthep and Vachala.

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As Sopana was also an approved fund manager, despite no longer working for any asset management companies at present, the above criminal complaint subsequently resulted in Sopana to have characteristics prohibited for capital market personnel, the SEC therefore revoked her status as an approved fund manager.

Furthermore, the SEC instructed all asset management companies to strengthen their Chinese wall measures to keep confidential their internal fund operation information, such as the funds’ proprietary trading decisions and pending orders, etc., to prevent the exploitation of such information to take advantage of the fund for the benefit of oneself or others. Presently, all companies have already made progress on this matter accordingly.

Vasant Thienhom, SEC Deputy Secretary-General said that “In conducting an asset management business responsible for managing the money of investors and the general public, public trust is deemed vital for the business to succeed or exist. Therefore, personnel of asset management companies who are responsible for the funds’ operations must perform their duties honestly for the best interest of their clients. They must also comply with professional standards and code of ethics; not allowing any acts in the manners that taking advantage of clients and investing public.”

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