A former portfolio manager who worked for Vanguard Investments Australia appeared at the Magistrates Court of Victoria yesterday to face 63 charges – each of which could see him jailed for five years and fined $220,000.
Mark Hildebrandt was employed by Vanguard to manage a number of registered schemes focused on international equities, but ASIC claims that he made improper use of his position as an employee of the index fund manager – allegedly netting himself $600,000 in the process.
The damning allegations outline 63 separate occasions between 18 May 2010 and 6 December 2010 where Hildebrandt placed orders for Canadian S&P/TSX 60 Index Standard Futures contracts on the Bourse de Montréal on behalf of Vanguard, while also placing substantially matching orders for the same financial product on his personal trading account.
ASIC’s case hinges on the allegation that the matching orders were placed so that Hildebrandt’s personal orders would trade against the Vanguard orders at prices that helped him to net $600,000 at the expense of Vanguard or its registered schemes.
Hildebrandt was not required to enter a plea, and the case has been adjourned for a committal mention hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 15 November.
ASIC’s investigation into Hildebrandt’s conduct arose from a referral from the Bourse de Montréal.
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