MAS issues two prohibition orders against ex-OCBC trader

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building in Shenton Way.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building in Shenton Way.ST PHOTO: FILE

Two prohibition orders have been lodged against a former trading representative of OCBC Securities after his conviction for unauthorised share trading and misappropriation of customers' monies.

The prohibition orders took effect yesterday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said yesterday.

Mr Prem Hirubalan was with OCBC Securities from May 2010 to May 2011.

He was convicted on June 24 last year on two charges under Section 201 (b) of the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) and one charge under Section 406 of the Penal Code.

He was jailed for 10 months on Aug 8 last year.

MAS has barred Mr Hirubalan from performing any regulated activity; or taking part in the management, acting as a director or becoming a substantial shareholder of any capital market services firm under the SFA for seven years.

He is also barred for seven years from providing financial advisory services; or taking part in the management, acting as a director or becoming a substantial shareholder of any financial advisory firm under the Financial Advisers Act.

During his employment with OCBC Securities, Mr Hirubalan conducted unauthorised share trades in the trading accounts of three customers. He also misappropriated about $81,000 from one of these customers.

He was initially sentenced to eight weeks' jail, but the prosecution appealed.

Judge of Appeal Tay Yong Kwang, in decision grounds issued on Aug 8 last year, increased the jail term to 10 months, noting that Mr Hirubalan "committed the offences with only his interests in mind".

"He wanted to advance his career as a dealer and to benefit financially from the commissions earned on the trades. The parties agreed before me that the rate of his commissions was 0.25 per cent, which would work out to be $3,000 to $4,000 based on the total amount of the illegal trades.

"While the amount in commissions was not huge, his actions were in complete disregard of the position of fidelity in relation to the securities company and to his clients. It was ultimately for his benefit. The second crime was committed to try to cover up the first.

"There were losses... but they were remedied subsequently by (Mr Hirubalan's) mother. There were 46 trades made by (him) amounting to slightly more than $1.2 million... over a period of about 10 weeks."

OCBC Bank's head of group corporate communications Koh Ching Ching said: "Upon discovering the fraudulent transactions, OCBC Securities made a police report in April 2011, and subsequently terminated (Mr Hirubalan's) employment."

MAS assistant managing director (capital markets) Lee Boon Ngiap said the regulator "will not hesitate to bar any individuals who do not meet fit and proper criteria from the financial industry".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2017, with the headline 'MAS issues two prohibition orders against ex-OCBC trader'. Print Edition | Subscribe