MAS Takes Civil Penalty Action and Issues Prohibition Orders against Two Former Trading Representatives for False Trading
Singapore, 25 April 2022… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has imposed civil penalties on, and issued prohibition orders (POs) against two former trading representatives, Ms Ngin Kim Choo and Mr Yeo Jin Lui, for false trading. Both executed a client’s instructions to purchase KS Energy Ltd (KSE) shares for the purpose of creating a false or misleading appearance with respect to the price of KSE shares.
2 Ms Ngin and Mr Yeo, who were trading representatives employed by CIMB Securities (Singapore) Pte Ltd (CIMB), admitted to contravening section 197(1)(b) of the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), and have paid MAS civil penalties of $100,000 and $50,000 respectively without court action.
3 MAS has issued five-year and four-year POs against Ms Ngin and Mr Yeo respectively, prohibiting them 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.
The POs took effect on 25 April 2022.
4 Ms Ngin managed the CIMB trading account used by her client, Mr Kris Wiluan1, while Mr Yeo managed the account on Ms Ngin’s behalf in her absence. Mr Wiluan’s instructions with regard to the false trades were conveyed to Ms Ngin and Mr Yeo, who had the discretion to manage and advise on the execution of trades to achieve Mr Wiluan’s desired price for KSE shares. Between 14 October 2015 and 13 September 2016, Ms Ngin traded KSE shares on 29 occasions, inflating the traded price of KSE shares by at least 5%. Between 22 September 2015 and 13 October 2015, Mr Yeo executed trades in KSE shares on seven occasions, inflating the traded price of KSE shares by at least 5%.
5 Ms Loo Siew Yee, Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments & Financial Crime), MAS, said, “Trading representatives must play their part in helping to safeguard market integrity. It is unacceptable for trading representatives to knowingly facilitate market misconduct. The civil penalties and prohibition orders against the two individuals reflect MAS’ firm resolve to stamp out such conduct.”
(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(1)(b) of the SFA
Section 197(1)(b) of the SFA prohibits the creating or doing of anything that is intended to create a false or misleading appearance with respect to the market for, or the price of, securities.
 Mr Wiluan was convicted for 3 charges of section 197(1)(b) of the SFA and sentenced to a fine of $480,000 on 19 May 2021, with the remaining 3 similar charges taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing.