SEC Settles Insider Trading Charges With San Francisco Firm

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced that a hedge fund advisory firm and a senior research analyst have agreed to settle charges related to their failures to detect insider trading by one of their employees.

The investigation found that San Francisco-based Artis Capital Management failed to maintain adequate policies and procedures to prevent insider trading at the firm. Artis Capital, and specifically the employee’s supervisor, Michael W. Harden, failed to respond appropriately to red flags that should have alerted them to the misconduct.

The employee, Matthew G. Teeple, was later charged, along with his source David Riley, as part of the SEC’s broader investigation into expert networks and the trading activities of hedge funds. Teeple and Riley also were charged by criminal authorities and have since received prison sentences.

Artis Capital agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by disgorging the illicit trading profits that Teeple generated for the firm totaling roughly $5.2 million plus interest of $1.1 million and a penalty of $2.6 million. Harden agreed to pay a $130,000 penalty and is suspended from the securities industry for 12 months.

Artis Capital and Harden consented to the SEC’s order without admitting or denying the findings.

Sanjay Wadhwa, senior associate director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office, commented:

Hedge fund advisory firms and supervisors must take all reasonable measures necessary to prevent insider trading, yet Artis Capital and Harden failed to take any action at all in response to Teeple’s highly profitable and suspiciously-timed trading recommendations.

Joseph G. Sansone, co-chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit, added:

By disgorging the illicit profits that Artis Capital obtained through Teeple’s misconduct, this settlement ensures that the firm and Harden will not be rewarded for their negligence.