Ex-City analyst fined £50,000 for careless IM

EX-CITY analyst Christopher Gower was yesterday slapped with a £50,000 fine for making “misleading and inaccurate” market disclosures” on pub chain Enterprise Inns which saw the shares surge.

Following a meeting with Punch chief executive, Gower, then working as a senior retail analyst for broker MF Global, sent 14 clients, a Bloomberg reporter as well as MF’s salesmen an instant message (IM) implying he had obtained inside information about the company’s plans to convert to a real estate investment trust (REIT).

Headlined “HOT OFF PRESS”, Gower’s message said the shares would “bounce”. The shares went up 4.5 per cent following his note, and closed 30 per cent up after Enterprise Inns confirmed it would convert to a REIT.

The FSA accepted Gower’s impression of imparting inside information was unintentional, but said his message was “careless” and “contributed to a large increase in the volume of shares traded.”