KARACHI: A day after the regulator announced that it has caught a "self-styled stock market guru" red handed, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman Zafar Hijazi has revealed that Mir Muhammad Ali Khan has been encouraging his followers through Facebook by giving self-serving investment tips.
Addressing a press conference at the SECP head office on Tuesday, Hijazi shared the details of the individual, popularly known as MAK, saying that the regulator had been monitoring this person for the last two years and conducted an investigation under Section 139 of the Securities Act, 2015.
"Mir Muhammad Ali Khan has a huge public following on social media and is actively followed," said the statement issued by the SECP. "He was active in sharing his advice (on the stock market) on Facebook and actively engaged in giving interviews (TV), lectures/courses to educational institutions and corporate entities."
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Hijazi said that the person accumulates a stock from the equity market and subsequently starts sharing his analysis/research on Facebook on that scrip and proposes a target price - a price the stock is expected to reach in the near future.
'MAK' subsequently re-posts on the same scrip with additional highlights/pointers, which induces general investors to follow his advice. "Contrary to his advice, MAK exits/sells his holding, which is achieved from the reaction of general public to 'Buy' on his advice on social media and realises extraordinary return on his investment through price difference achieved with positive impact on a scrip's price through inducement.
"For instance, in the case of Ghani Automobile Limited (GAIL), he shared his analysis on the scrip of GAIL on Facebook on July 13, 2015 and told his followers that the management of GAIL had revealed to him about GAIL in process of obtaining licence to manufacture tractors. GAIL disseminated clarification to the Commission and the Stock Exchange on July 24, 2015 denying the rumours on Obtaining License for Production of Tractors.
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"The aforementioned contradicting post of GAIL brought the suspicion of a probable manipulative activity being carried out in the scrip of GAIL. The SECP asked both, MAK and the GAIL, to explain their positions. GAIL itself disseminated clarification to the Commission and the Stock Exchange on July 24, 2015, denying the rumours on obtaining license for production of tractors.
Before sharing this news on his Facebook page, MAK bought a quantity of 2,554,500 from his mother's account. When his followers started to buy GAIL shares, this person sold his holding and earned undue profits. He has repeated the same practice in the shares of seven other scripts."
The SECP said that MAK's strategy is in violation of Sections 134 & 136 of the Securities Act, 2015 and accordingly penal provisions of Section 159 of the Securities Act, 2015 are proposed to be invoked against him. The SECP has filled a criminal case against MAK in a court of law on Tuesday, the SECP chairman said.
Hijazi further added that the SECP is actively coordinating with FIA and NAB to deal with persons involved in financial crimes related to capital market.
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