On April 2, the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced that it had won its market abuse case at the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal (the Tribunal) against Winterflood Securities Limited (Winterflood), the largest market maker of AIM Securities, and two Winterflood traders, Stephen Sotirou (SS) and Jason Robins (JR).
In June 2008, the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FSA (RDC) found that Winterflood, JR and SS carried out an illegal share ramping scheme relating to shares in Fundamental-E Investments Plc (FEI), an AIM listed company. In particular, the market maker had misused rollovers and delayed rollovers thereby creating a distortion in the market for FEI shares and indoing misled the market for about six months in 2004. The RDC fined Winterflood £4 million (approximately $5.9 million) and imposed fines of £200,000 (approximately $295,000) on SS and #50,000 (approximately $73,500) on JR.
The RDC concluded that the FEI share trades executed by Winterflood in the relevant period had a series of unusual features which should have alerted the market maker to the clear and substantial risks of market manipulation. Rather than taking steps to ensure that the trades were genuine, Winterflood continued the trading since it was highly profitable. Winterflood made about £900,000 (approximately $1.3 million) from trading in FEI shares in the relevant period. FEI was its most profitable stock at the time.
Winterflood referred the matter to the Tribunal on a point of law. The Tribunal rejected Winterflood’s contentions and upheld the RDC's decision which as therefore now been made public