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February 7, 2023

Ex-Deloitte New Zealand Partner Is Probably Having Second Thoughts About That Whole Insider Trading Thing

Today’s “former Big 4 partner busted for insider trading” news comes from New Zealand, where Mark Talbot, who worked at Deloitte from 2014 to 2017, will pay the Financial Markets Authority $150,000 and has been barred from acting as a director or manager of a listed business for five years for not being able to contain himself when he got some insider info.

Mark Talbot

Now just for the record, Talbot wasn’t working at Deloitte when he was involved in the insider trading scheme, unlike former Deloitte US partner Thomas Flanagan and that one Deloitte US partner and his wife who were trying to make a little extra money for themselves and their in-laws. Talbot was the part-time CFO for a tech company called VMob, now known as Plexure, when he got some material, non-public information.

According to the New Zealand Herald:

The investigation related to the purchase of VMob shares shortly before an announcement that the company had been awarded a contract with McDonald’s Japan, projected to yield significant revenue.

Talbot admitted he had information that VMob was likely to be awarded the contract with McDonald’s Japan during all relevant times when he traded in VMob shares on July 24, 2014.

The information was material, and not generally available to the market, and was received by Talbot in his capacity as a senior manager of VMob.

The FMA said Talbot knew it was material information that was not generally available to the market until it was announced on August 11, 2014.

Radio New Zealand reported that Talbot said he bought the shares on behalf of his father, through an investment company they co-owned. Nice of Talbot to throw his Dad under the bus; some real son-of-the-year material right there.

In a statement, Talbot said the transaction involved the purchase of shares for a total of $10,000 and that it was “naivety on his part and based on inaccurate and incomplete advice received from those I respected,” according to the New Zealand Herald.

He added:

“During my career, I have only ever been involved in one publicly listed company [VMob], and on a part-time basis only,” he said.

“In hindsight, the scope of the role was too great without the level of support initially promised to me.”

Luckily for Talbot, the FMA withdrew the insider trading charge against him, and as part of a settlement in February he pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to disclose a relevant interest, breaching the Securities Markets Act, according to Radio New Zealand.

Caleb used to shout this from the mountaintops, and it bears repeating here: Don’t insider trade. There’s no point. You will not get rich. You will not get away with it.

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