Ex-JP Morgan Banker Hannam Loses FCA Appeal
One of the City's top investment bankers has lost an appeal against a ruling that he committed market abuse, leaving him exposed to the prospect of a larger fine than the £450,000 sanction initially imposed on him.
In a judgement published on Wednesday afternoon, the Tax and Chancery Chamber's Upper Tribunal rejected Ian Hannam's argument that his disclosure of information relating to Heritage Oil, a London-listed company, had been entirely proper.
Sky News revealed earlier that the ruling was imminent.
The decision will be greeted with relief by executives at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), whose own approach to the disclosure of confidential information has come under scrutiny in recent weeks.
Last month, George Osborne, the Chancellor, ordered an inquiry into the FCA's handling of an announcement of a probe it was launching into certain areas of the life insurance industry.
In their written judgement on Mr Hannam's appeal, the presiding judges opened the door to a rethink of the way the City watchdog supervises the disclosure of inside information, saying:
"The Authority might give consideration to making mandatory the keeping of a record of when and how a person has been made subject to confidentiality obligations and of precisely what he has been told.
"This is particularly so in the case of inside information in the context of a potential bidder in a corporate transaction. With such a record, the task of 40 investigating potential dealing based on inside information would be more straightforward than without one."
In a statement, Mr Hannam said: "I am obviously disappointed that the Tribunal has rejected the explanation as to why the two emails sent in the course of advising and assisting my client did not contravene the rules, but I do appreciate the full consideration that has been given to the issues.
"I am gratified that the Tribunal has accepted that I was indeed acting only in the interests of my client and without any dishonest or ulterior motive. Launching an appeal is not a decision to be taken lightly and will require careful thought."
The tribunal said it was seeking further submissions from Mr Hannam and the FCA about the appropriate penalty, two years after he was hit by a £450,000 fine.
Sources said the penalty could be increased or reduced at a later date.
A former SAS soldier, Mr Hannam was nicknamed "the king of mining M&A" after he orchestrated a string of deals that led to some of the world's biggest natural resources companies, including Xstrata and Bumi, being listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Since leaving JP Morgan, he has rebuilt his career, taking control of a number of businesses in the mining and resources industries, and offering financial backing to Heathrow Hub, one of the shortlisted candidates for expanding runway capacity in south-east England.