Many investors are profiteers using insider information.
Lax management of the local securities market is creating opportunities for investors to violate the law.
On June 7, the HCM City Stock Exchange fined Sai Gon-Asia Financial Investment JSC, Sacombank shareholder Tran Phat Minh and Sai Gon-Exim Company VND60 million (USD2,874) each for buying Sacombank’s shares without making a public announcement. These trades made them become Sacombank’s biggest shareholders.
With investors and other shareholders still in shock because of lax penalties, they received another blow when hearing the news that Sai Gon-Asia Financial Investment JSC, shareholders Tran Phat Minh had sold their stocks without making a mandatory disclosure again on June 12.
Sai Gon-Asia Financial Investment JSC sold about 900,000 shares and individual shareholder Tran Phat Minh sold 876,000 shares.
With the changes, Minh and Sai Gon-Asia Financial Investment JSC stocks dropped to below 5 percent, and were no longer Sacombank major shareholders, meaning they can sell their remaining shares without making a public announcement.
Answering the criticisms of being slow, the HCM City Stock Exchange said Sacombank’s legal representatives had not responded until May 29. However the management agencies took no action during three months of blatant transactions that raised suspicions among the investors.
By the end of March, the HCM City Stock Exchange fined the chair of Hanoi Investment general Corporation, Dinh Hong Long, VND40 million (US1,916) for allegedly selling his shares in secret.
In 2011, Long sold nearly 1.4 million shares, sending the price of company shares down from VND20,000 (USD0.96) to VND1,600 (USD0.08).
Many companies’ shareholders also violated the same laws such as the major shareholder of Khanh Hoi Import-Export JSC who bought 264,940 shares or the head accountant of Hanoi Maritime Holding Company who sold 100,000 shares.
Sacombank also recently bought 1,041,500 shares from the SPM Corporation and became its major shareholder.
A shareholder of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Urban Development and Construction Corporation sold 120,000 shares before the company’s registered information for online transactions was announced.
However the fines for these cases are considered too low.
Vuong Dinh Hue, minister of Finance ordered the city’s Stock Exchange to provide a report of the problems. He said punishments would also be delivered to state agencies which were slow in dealing with the issues.
Investors who have complained of these types of transactions for many years, welcomed the news. They want their rights to be protected in such cases.
Currently, the maximum penalties for manipulating stock prices and for internal transaction is VND300 million (USD14,374), while misleading or concealing information is VND500 million (USD23,957). But in reality, the penalties are only counted in the tens of millions of VND which is too small compared to the profits the violators earn.
Many investors have proposed that profiteers using insider information should face prosecution.