Posted inRegulation

WhatsApp message leads to penalty for HK trader

A licensed dealer’s message “let’s talk here, email monitored” resulted in a three-month suspension by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.

The WhatsApp message was sent by Fabiano Hugues Joseph Mascolo, an SFC-licensed securities dealer, to a client regarding a buy order, the regulator said.

The incident happened in October 2013, when Mascolo was an employee of BTIG Hong Kong.

The regulator found that Mascolo breached BTIG’s internal control policy.

“BTIG’s written electronic communications policy prohibited employees from using text-messaging on mobile phones that are not supported by its IT department and if the intended purpose is related to its Hong Kong business activities.” the SFC said in a statement.

He was suspended for three months from 21 December 2015 to 20 March 2016.

The SFC also found that between April 2010 and September 2013, Mascolo allowed a friend, who was a licensed representative of another firm, to use his personal securities account at a brokerage firm to conduct personal trades without obtaining prior written consent from his friend’s then employers.

“Mascolo’s conduct, in breach of the Code of Conduct, made it difficult for his employer to properly monitor his trading activities and to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements,” the SFC said.

“His conduct also made it impossible for his friend’s employers to identify and effectively monitor his friend’s personal trading activities to ensure there were no conflicts of interests or other malpractices arising from his personal trading.”

According to the SFC, Mascolo was accredited to BTIG Hong Kong until 22 November 2013. He was subsequently accredited to MCM Asia (trading as MCM Partners) from 18 December 2014 to 30 October 2015. He is currently not accredited to any licensed corporation. 

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