Hong Kong: Citigroup Inc. was fined HK$57 million ($7.3 million) by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission for the bank’s actions around the listing application of an initial public offering.
The US bank was also reprimanded for its failure to discharge its duties as a sponsor for Real Gold Mining Ltd’s 2009 IPO. Citigroup’s due diligence on Real Gold’s customers was flawed, and it didn’t properly supervise its staff when carrying out the sponsor work, the SFC said on Thursday.
The SFC said in October that it was investigating 15 financial firms that sponsored IPOs in Hong Kong, concerned about “substandard” advisory work and due diligence. Banks that act as sponsors of an IPO are held accountable if offer documents contain untrue statements.
“The resolution announced by the SFC today does not involve any license suspension and does not place any constraints on Citi’s business activities or on any individual in Hong Kong or elsewhere,” said James Griffith, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at the bank.
In March, UBS Group AG was fined HK$119 million and banned from sponsoring IPOs in Hong Kong for 18 months for its sponsor work on a particular IPO. The Swiss bank can continue to sponsor IPOs while it appeals the decision, and would still able to underwrite IPOs during any suspension. Banks that act as underwriters market and find buyers for the shares.
Real Gold was the “first and only” listing application that Citigroup worked on that the regulator looked at, the SFC in its statement. There was no evidence that the breaches were deliberate, intentional or reckless, the SFC said.