Home Capital Drops Most in 21 Months as Regulator Charges Firm

(Bloomberg) -- Home Capital Group Inc., the troubled Canadian alternative-mortgage lender targeted by short-sellers, fell the most in almost two years after a financial regulator alleged that executives misled investors and broke securities laws.

Shares of the Toronto-based company dropped as much as 14 percent Thursday, the most since July 2015. The stock fell after the Ontario Securities Commission alleged Wednesday night that the company’s former officials failed to satisfy disclosure requirements, made “materially misleading statements” and failed to comply with other securities rules.

Five analysts lowered their price targets for the stock and Raymond James downgraded it to market perform from outperform. Thursday’s decline is the biggest since Home Capital Group released second-quarter results almost two years ago, when mortgage originations had fallen more than forecast and several analysts downgraded the shares. The 12-month price target of C$27.82 ($20.63) a share, the consensus of 12 analysts who watch the stock, is the lowest in at least seven years.

The shares were trading at C$19.47 at 10:28 a.m. in Toronto, a 13 percent decline.

The OSC’s allegations were made against Gerald Soloway, Home Capital Group’s former chief executive and founder, former Chief Financial Officer Robert Morton and Martin Reid, the company’s longtime president who took over as CEO for less than a year before the board removed him last month.

Home Capital Group “has always carefully considered its disclosure obligations,” the company said in a statement Wednesday night. “The company believes that its disclosure satisfied applicable disclosure requirements, and the allegations are without merit. The allegations will be vigorously defended.”

Representatives for the company didn’t immediately respond to requests seeking comment Thursday.