UBS Banker Tim Cen Is Said to Appeal Ban for China Forestry IPO

(Bloomberg) -- UBS Group AG’s lead banker on 2009’s China Forestry Holdings Co.’s initial public offering in Hong Kong is appealing a license ban by the city’s financial regulator related to his work on the deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Cen Tian, also known as Tim Cen, a Hong Kong-based managing director at the Swiss bank, is appealing an enforcement action brought against him by the Securities and Futures Commission, the website of the Securities and Futures Appeals Tribunal shows. That action is a license suspension in relation to China Forestry’s debut, said the person, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public.

The appeal tribunal’s website didn’t provide details about the case against Cen.

Angel Yeung, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman at UBS, declined to comment, as did Jonathan Li, a spokesman for the SFC. Cen refused to discuss the matter when reached by phone.

The SFC has been investigating breaches of its rules surrounding China Forestry’s IPO, one of several Chinese debuts that blew up on investors around that time, prompting Hong Kong’s securities regulator to start scrutinizing banks. On Tuesday the agency said it had banned Joseph Hsu, a former Standard Chartered Plc banker, for three years. That sanction was related to China Forestry’s debut, another person familiar with the matter said.

UBS is appealing an 18-month regulatory suspension from acting as a sponsor on IPOs in the city, which people familiar with the matter had said was also related to the China Forestry deal. The bank is free to carry out existing mandates and take new sponsor jobs while it appeals.

Tom Atkinson, enforcement chief at the SFC, said in March that the agency would announce more results of its investigation into 15 firms in the next six months. Some IPO sponsors in the city have been “extremely reckless,” he said at the time.

In May, Citigroup Inc. was fined HK$57 million ($7.3 million) and reprimanded for its failure to discharge its duties as a sponsor for Real Gold Mining Ltd.’s 2009 IPO. Earlier this month, a unit of China Construction Bank Corp. was reprimanded and fined HK$24 million in relation to the listing application of Fujian Dongya Aquatic Products in 2013 and 2014.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.