Stockbroking firm Craigs Investment Partners has been censured and fined $45,000 by the NZX Markets Disciplinary Tribunal for mistakes in share trades.
The punishment is for orders for Telecom and Rubicon shares mistakenly entered by a Craig's client authorised to use the firm's Direct Market Access trading function.
NZX (the market operator which runs at arms length from the NZX Disciplinary Tribunal) had asked for a $95,000 fine.
The Tribunal said the system was used on August 2, 2011 for an order to buy 640,000 Telecom shares but with no price specified. The order was immediately matched against more than 17 sell orders and saw Telecom's share price move from $2.68 to $3.31, a 23.5% increase.
NZX investigated and Craigs said its client had made a mistake. The exchange put Telecom in a trading halt and cancelled 52 trades.
On November 15, 2011, the same client used Craigs system to enter an order to buy 30,000 Rubicon shares. This too was immediately matched against sell orders, and the Rubicon share price spiked 48% from 39 cents to 58c. Again NZX investigated, contacted Craigs and cancelled the trades.
Defending the allegations, Craigs accepted that it did not have proper filters in its trading system with the Telecom order was entered but denied any NZX rule breaches over the Rubicon incident saying its trading system provider had assured it filters were in place by then.
It said an "unknown software error" meant the filters did not work.
The Tribunal disagreed, saying Craigs could not avoid responsibility because of a third party error.
It said both incidents were of "a moderate nature" and each had an indicative maximum penalty of $50,000.
Acknowledging Craigs' prompt response to the incidents, the Tribunal fined the firm $35,000 for the Telecom share mistake and $10,000 for the Rubicon error. Craigs must also pay the Tribunal's costs.
- © Fairfax NZ News