Greencore broker given reprimand

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The Independent Online
J&E DAVY, the Dublin stockbroker at the heart of last year's botched placing of shares in Greencore, the privatised Irish foods group, was reprimanded by the Stock Exchange and fined Ir pounds 150,000 yesterday.

The action made history as the first public reprimand the Exchange has delivered to a member firm. Davy had asked for the warning to be made public, in an attempt to draw a line under the saga, which has proved a great embarrassment to the firm.

The Exchange usually does not publicise disciplinary action. If it does refer to a reprimand, as a guide for other member firms for instance, it does not name the firm involved. The penalties were imposed by the Exchange's disciplinary committee after extensive hearings in Dublin more than a month ago. These followed a report drawn up by the Exchange's investigations department.

The disciplinary committee said Davy's conduct was in some respects detrimental to the interests of the Stock Exchange. The affair centred on Davy's handling of the placing of the Irish Government's remaining stake in Greencore last April.

The government announced that the pounds 70m placing had been successful, but it emerged subsequently that companies associated with Davy had bought in a large block of the shares on offer.

The pounds 150,000 fine will not trouble Davy, which is Dublin's biggest and most blue-chip broker, and the reprimand is the least severe punishment available to the Exchange, at the bottom of a list that includes censure, suspension and expulsion.