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FSA fines Sir Ken Morrison £210k over share sales

FSA has fined former Morrisons chairman Sir Ken Morrison £210,000 for failing to disclose his reduced shareholding and voting rights in the supermarket chain.

Morrison retired as chairman of the supermarket in 2008. Shortly after his retirement, the company announced on March 28, 2008 that Morrison had a notifiable holding of voting rights of 6.38 per cent, worth £450m.

Between 2009 and 2010 Morrison cut his shareholding from over 6 per cent to 0.9 per cent, but failed to notify the company on four separate occasions when his voting rights fell below 6 per cent, 5 per cent, 4 per cent and 3 per cent.

No further shareholding notifications were made until March 1 this year, almost three years after the original holding announcement.

The FSA says Morrison did not financially benefit from these breaches of the regulator’s disclosure and transparency rules.

However his failure to notify the company of the changes to his shareholding meant the supermarket could not update the market in accordance with regulatory rules.

The FSA says this led to the market being misled about the ownership of voting rights in Morrisons.

FSA acting director of enforcement and financial crime Tracey McDermott says: “It is important that significant shareholders recognise that timely and accurate disclosure of their shareholdings and voting rights is a fundamental component of a properly informed securities market.”

McDermott says investors are entitled to know when major and influential shareholders significantly reduce their interest in a listed company, and that Morrison should have been aware of his obligations to notify the market that his stake had reduced.

She adds: “The rules are designed to enhance transparency and provide investors with timely information regarding voting rights in issuers. Failure to comply with the rules risks damaging investor confidence in the financial markets.”


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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. A £210K fine on a £450m share holdng? That is loose change…..but really, what are the FSA trying to prove? No financial benefit was had, and it only took three whole years for the FSA to whack Sir Morrison for what clearly looks like innocent oversight. Another waste of resources and another pay day for the FSA.

  2. Could not the fact that he had sold a fair lump of shares affected the share price? Might he have lost out if the value of his other shares had gone down due his selling?

  3. WIth his profit he could perhaps have afforded some security cameras on our local store car park to prevent/identify idiot boy racers who have disturned our sleep for the last 15 years. Or maybe even have reduced the price of bacon?

  4. Poor old Ken. Still, at least Hector can give more money to charity and continue to recoup from IFAs.

  5. John Rawicz-Szczerbo 16th August 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Mmmm. He made a mistake.

  6. Im no expert but how does a 6% share equate to a value of £450million?

    Doesnt that value the company at something like £8 billion?

  7. Brian Flanagan – Non-executive FSA Board member
    Brian Flanagan joined the FSA Board in January 2007. He is a non-executive director of Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc and Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate. He is also advisor to Jet Environmental Ltd. He was formerly a Vice President of Mars Inc.

  8. big al – Yes, that is something like £8 billion.
    And yes, you’re no expert…:)
    Big company that Morrisons….

  9. @Lofty’s Mate – what is your post trying to imply?

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