Australia's ASIC bans ex Macquarie manager for using fake Family Office to get info from competitors


Australia’s financial regulator ASIC has banned former Macquarie executive Timothy Hornibrook from providing financial services for a period of six years.

Mr. Hornibrook was formerly a director and responsible manager of Macquarie unit Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management (MAFM). He was a director of MAFM between February 2010 and May 2014. He was also a responsible manager of MAFM between March 2012 and May 2014.

In early 2011, Mr. Hornibrook along with some members of the MAFM sales team conceived the concept of a fake family office, named the Brook Family Office. Family offices are private wealth management advisory firms that serve high net worth investors.

The sales team then used two email addresses for the Brook Family Office to extract confidential information from MAFM’s competitors in the agricultural investment sector on the pretense that it was assessing potential investment opportunities for its funds under management.

Between May 2011 and March 2013, the sales team used two Brook Family Office email addresses to send emails to at least nine competitor fund managers based in Australia and overseas, all of which were known by the sales team to be direct competitors of MAFM. The emails purported to come from the Brook Family Office and contained a ‘Request for Information’ document containing a list of questions, which sought information from MAFM’s competitors such as company background, investment process, fund performance and fees.

The sales team intended to use the information obtained in order to give MAFM a commercial advantage against its competitors.

ASIC Commissioner Greg Tanzer said that:

The deceptive conduct of Mr. Hornibrook was not inadvertent nor was it the result of a momentary lapse. It was committed over a number of years and was intended to gain an advantage for himself and the Macquarie business for which he was responsible.

MAFM was an internally structured business which fell under the Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets division. Between May 2011 and March 2013, the sales team used two BFO email addresses to send emails to at least nine competitor fund managers based in Australia and overseas, all of which were known by the sales team to be direct competitors of MAFML. The emails purported to come from the BFO and contained a “Request for Information” document containing a list of questions, which sought information from MAFML’s competitors such as company background, investment process, fund performance and fees.

To see the full ASIC release click here.

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Australia's ASIC bans ex Macquarie manager for using fake Family Office to get info from competitors

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