Citigroup Inc. was fined $30 million by Massachusetts after an analyst at the bank's global markets unit gave institutional clients confidential information on an Apple Inc. supplier ahead of other investors.
Kevin Chang, who was based in Taiwan, sent research on Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.'s Apple shipments to firms including hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors LP, Citadel LLC, GLG Partners Inc. and T. Rowe Price Group Inc., Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin said today in a statement.
Chang e-mailed his research describing "significant cuts in Apple iPhone production numbers" to clients on Dec. 13, 2012, a day before it was published, the securities regulator said. Three Citigroup clients sold shares of the Cupertino, California-based technology firm between the time they received the e-mail and he published the information, according to the statement, which didn't identify the companies. None of the clients were accused of wrongdoing in a consent order released yesterday.
"The concept that investors are to be presented with a level playing field when it comes to the product of research analysts is a lesson that must be learned over and over again," Galvin, 63, said in the statement. "It should be taught as often as necessary."
An e-mail message sent to Chang seeking comment was returned as undeliverable. The Associated Press reported today that he was fired by New York-based Citigroup, without saying where it got the information.
Sophia Stewart, a Citigroup spokeswoman, confirmed that Chang is no longer with the company and said the bank is pleased the matter's resolved.
"We take our regulatory compliance requirements very seriously and train all of our employees about these obligations," Stewart said in an e-mailed statement. "We are also constantly working to improve, manage and monitor the compliance and controls process."
In addition to the fine, Citigroup is required to perform a three-year review of its disclosure policies on confidential research, according to the statement.
The bank last year paid Massachusetts a $2 million fine to settle a complaint that a junior analyst improperly disclosed confidential information ahead of Facebook Inc.'s 2012 initial public offering.