The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has revoked the licences of Richmond Asset Management Limited and its responsible officer and sole owner, Mr Graham Frank Bibby, and banned him from re-entering the industry for a period of 10 years effective from 31 October 2016 to 30 October 2026.
The disciplinary actions follow a review of the SFC’s decision to sanction Richmond Asset Management and Bibby by the Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal (SFAT).
The SFC’s investigation found that Richmond Asset Management and Bibby are not fit and proper persons in that they procured investment funds from customers which were invested in assets which Bibby and his wife held substantial undisclosed interests. Specifically, Richmond Asset Management and Bibby obtained approximately US$5 million from 36 clients to invest in a company and a plot of land in Phuket of Thailand (Phuket Land) in which Bibby and his wife held substantial undisclosed interests.
The clients’ funds procured by Richmond Asset Management and Bibby were routed into three unauthorized funds (Optimizer Funds). Richmond Asset Management and Bibby were not only the investment advisers for the Optimizer Funds but also held management powers over the funds.
Richmond Asset Management and Bibby directed monies invested in the Optimizer Funds into two other funds (Asia Property Funds) in which Richmond Asset Management and Bibby were also advisers and investment managers.
In November 2007 the Asia Property Funds advanced a loan to The Fairway Holding Company Limited, a Thailand-based company in which Bibby and his wife held a combined stake of 75%. The loan – essentially monies invested in the Asia Property Funds from the Optimizer Funds – were then used by Fairway to fund the purchase of the Phuket Land. Bibby also paid part of the purchase price of the Phuket Land.
The Optimizer Funds have been suspended since April 2010 and redemption requests from clients have been unsatisfied. The Optimizer Funds have been in limbo since suspension with the Asia Property Funds having become its major assets whilst the Phuket Land remains unsold and Fairway has defaulted on the loan owed to the Asia Property Funds.
Richmond Asset Management and Bibby failed to properly avoid and disclose potential conflicts of interest to its clients, abusing clients’ trust. In so doing they demonstrate they are unfit to be licensed to conduct regulated activities.
In particular, Bibby played a central role in managing how the clients’ monies in their portfolios were invested and he initiated the structure of funds to channel the clients’ investments to a company and a property in which he and his wife have substantial interests.