MAS Takes Civil Penalty Action and Issues Prohibition Orders against Former Trading Representative for False and Unauthorised Trading
Singapore, 18 August 2022… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has imposed a civil penalty of $100,000 and issued prohibition orders (POs) against Ms Chua Kah Boey for false and unauthorised trading. Ms Chua had committed false trading by executing a client’s instructions to purchase Gaylin Holdings Ltd (GHL) shares for the purpose of creating a misleading appearance with respect to the price of the shares. She also committed unauthorised trading by executing a third party’s trading instructions through two other trading accounts without authorisation from her former employer.
2. Ms Chua, a former trading representative employed by UOB Kay Hian Private Limited (UOBKH), has paid MAS a civil penalty of $100,000 without court action for contraventions of sections 197(1A)(b) and 201(b) of the Securities and Futures Act 2001 (SFA).
3. MAS has also issued four-year POs against Ms Chua, prohibiting her from:
a) performing any regulated activity or from taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of a holder of any capital markets services firm under the SFA; and
b) providing any financial advisory service or taking part in the management of, acting as a director of, or becoming a substantial shareholder of any financial advisory firm under the Financial Advisers Act 2001.
The POs took effect on 18 August 2022.
Background to the case
4. Ms Chua managed the UOBKH trading accounts belonging to Mr Wong Leon Keat1 and three other individuals. Between 15 February 2016 and 25 October 2016, Ms Chua executed Mr Wong’s trading instructions through one of the other individuals’ UOBKH trading account, inflating the closing price of GHL shares by between 6.5% and 38.6%.
5. Ms Chua also executed Mr Wong’s trading instructions through the UOBKH trading accounts of two other individuals, without notifying and seeking UOBKH’s authorisation of these arrangements. This was likely to deceive UOBKH into believing that the trades executed through these accounts had been instructed by the respective account holders.
(A) The civil penalty regime
A civil penalty action is not a criminal action and does not attract criminal sanctions. The civil penalty regime, designed to complement criminal sanctions and provide a nuanced approach to combat market misconduct, became operational in 2004.
Under section 232(1) of the SFA, whenever it appears that any person has contravened any provision in Part 12 of the SFA, MAS may, with the consent of the Public Prosecutor, enter into an agreement with any person for that person to pay, with or without admission of liability, a civil penalty. The civil penalty shall not exceed the greater of the following:
(a) three times the amount of the profit gained or loss avoided by that person, or
(b) $2 million, subject to a minimum of $100,000 (if the person is a corporation) or $50,000 (if the person is not a corporation).
(B) False Trading under section 197(1A)(b) of the SFA
Section 197(1A)(b) of the SFA prohibits any person from doing any thing, causing any thing to be done, or engaging in any conduct that creates, or is likely to create a false or misleading appearance with respect to the market for, or the price of, securities, if the person is reckless as to whether doing that thing, causing that thing to be done, or engaging in that course of conduct will create, or will be likely to create, that false or misleading appearance.
(C) Employment of Manipulative and Deceptive Devices under section 201(b) of the SFA
Section 201(b) of the SFA prohibits any person in connection with the subscription, purchase or sale of any securities, from engaging in any act, practice or course of business which operates as a fraud or deception, or is likely to operate as a fraud or deception, upon any person.
 Mr Wong was convicted for seven charges of false trading (section 197(1)(b) SFA) and one instance of deceiving UOBKH (section 201(b) SFA), with the remaining offences taken into consideration. He was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment for false trading and fined $30,000 for unauthorised trading on 12 March 2021. His appeal against custodial sentence was dismissed on 2 December 2021 - MAS media release .