‘King of Mining’ Hannam loses market abuse appeal

 

Deputy Business Editor

A City tribunal has decreed that Ian Hannam, one of the leading investment bankers of his generation, did commit market abuse in two instances, upholding a ruling by the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority.

The former chairman of capital markets at JPMorgan had been fighting to clear his name after the regulator fined him £450,000 for disclosing to a client inside information about a potential takeover of an oil and gas company called Heritage. At the time, JPMorgan was acting for Heritage.

At issue were two emails to Ashti Hawrami, the Kurdish natural resources minister, one of which disclosed that Heritage was at the receiving end of a takeover bid, and another saying it had “just found oil”.

Mr Hannam, known in the City as the King of Mining, appealed against the ruling but the upper tribunal upheld the decision.

The deal maker described himself as “loyal and British” to The Independent before referring inquiries to a statement which said  he was “obviously disappointed” at the decision and would give “careful thought” to whether he would make a further appeal.

The tribunal also upheld the £450,000 penalty and said: “We consider that it could never be in the proper course of a person’s employment for him to disclose inside information to a third party, where he knows that his employer and client would not consent to the public disclosure of that information, unless he knows that the recipient is under a duty of confidentiality and that he knows that the recipient understands that to be the case.”

Mr Hannam said he had pursued the case because he felt that the market abuse rules were unclear. The fact that the judgment was lengthy and detailed showed that his view was reasonable, he said.

Mr Hannam has advised on some of the biggest takeover deals of the past two decades, particularly in the mining and natural resources industries, and has continued working since the fine, advising on Glencore’s takeover of Xstrata among other deals.

He is co-owner of Strand Partners, an FCA-registered advisory business, and he has continued his involvement with Centar, a mining venture in Afghanistan which he co-founded while at JP Morgan.

He has received widespread support from City friends and contacts, including the former Xstrata boss Mick Davis, Aberdeen Asset Management chief Martin Gilbert and former Conservative leadership candidate David Davis.

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