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FMA files criminal charges over alleged insider trading of Plexure shares

​Charges relate to alleged insider trading in 2014, when Plexure was known as VMob.
Regulator files charges relating to alleged insider trading in VMob/Plexure shares.

Regulator files charges relating to alleged insider trading in VMob/Plexure shares.

The FMA has filed criminal charges against an unnamed individual alleging insider trading in the shares of listed tech stock Plexure, formerly VMob.

The individual was formerly engaged in a senior role in the company, the regulator said, and the alleged trading occurred in July 2014

"The individual has been charged under the Securities Markets Act with insider trading and failing to disclose interests in VMob shares," the FMA said in a release.

Plexure develops an IoT-driven CRM platform providing real-time customer insights. It's systems are deployed in McDonald's internationally and a range of other corporate businesses.

The insider trading laws prohibit people who hold material information that is not generally available to the market from trading on that inside information.

Material information is information that a reasonable person would expect, if it were generally available to the market, to have a material effect on the price of shares.

In April, the FMA concluded New Zealand's first successful insider trading case under the Financial Markets Conduct Act when analytics manager Jeffrey Peter Honey pleaded guilty at the Auckland District Court to one charge of insider trading of shares in fleet management technology firm EROAD. 

Honey sent a text message in September 2015 to a former employee and EROAD shareholder, encouraging them to sell shares. He was sentenced to six months home detention.

The current charges are not under the FMC Act, but under its predecessor, the Securities Markets Act 1988 due to the date of the alleged offending.

“The integrity of New Zealand’s licensed markets is a key strategic priority for the FMA," Karen Chang, FMA head of enforcement, said.

"The insider trading prohibitions are one of the key mechanisms for ensuring licensed markets remain fair and transparent. The FMA will take enforcement action where it finds evidence of insider conduct.”

VMob/Plexure has not been part of the FMA’s investigation and has not been charged with any offence. The company cooperated with the FMA during its investigation.

NZX referred the trading to the FMA in September 2014.

(Disclosure: Rob O'Neill owns a small parcel of Plexure shares.)