The Business Rules of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad ("Rules of Bursa Securities") prescribe rules relating to conduct of business, trading, settlement, etc. The key trading rules that Market Surveillance focuses on are summarised below. For the full and latest provision, kindly refer to the relevant provision of Business Rules of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad.
Participating Organisations (POs), Heads of Dealing (HD) and Dealer's Representative (DR) shall refrain themselves from engaging in, or be a party to, any unethical practices that may damage the confidence of investors and hamper the sound development of the stock market.
POs, HD and DR shall avoid, and shall not participate in any operation by others which might have the same result, any act or practice which might lead to a false or misleading appearance of active trading in any securities on the stock market of the Exchange or a false or misleading appearance with respect to the market for, or the price of, any such securities; or directly or indirectly be tantamount to stock market manipulations.
A PO shall not allow any form of irregular and/or unhealthy practice to exist or prevail in its daily and professional business conduct.
Every PO shall at all times maintain a proper supervisory programme and a system of internal controls which must take into account among others, the PO's operations and proper conduct of its business.
Every PO and every DR shall at all times observe professional standard of integrity and fair dealing and conduct their business in a manner which contributes to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market.
The CMSA prescribes the laws among others, to regulate and to provide for matters relating to the activities, markets and intermediaries in the capital markets.
Some trading related laws are explained below. For the full and latest provision, kindly refer to relevant section of the CMSA on SC's website.
Front running refers to a DR or PO entering into a transaction of purchase or sale of securities in priority to client's order.
Short selling is the action of a person selling shares, which he does not own at the time of selling.
Essentially, the law provides that a person shall not sell securities to a purchaser unless, at the time when he sells them:-
a presently exercisable and unconditional right to vest the securities in the purchaser.
This involves matched transactions where the buyer and seller are the same i.e. either involving the same Central Depository System (CDS) account or "passing around" a specific group of CDS accounts. Transactions result in no change in beneficial ownership (NCBO).
Note: Essentially, the law provides that a person shall not create, or cause to be created, or do anything that is calculated to create, a false or misleading appearance of active trading in any securities on a stock market in Malaysia or a false or misleading appearance with respect to the market for, or the price of, any such securities.
Stock market manipulation is the act of transacting in the securities of a company that will have or is likely to have the effect of raising or lowering or maintaining the price of the company's securities on a stock market, with the intention of inducing other persons to purchase or subscribe for the company's securities. Such acts are illegal under the CMSA.
Note: Essentially, the law provides that a person shall not effect, take part in, be concerned in or carry out, either directly or indirectly, any number of transactions in securities of a corporation, being transactions that have, or are likely to have, the effect of raising, lowering or fixing the price of securities of the corporation on a stock market in Malaysia, for the purpose or purposes which may include the purpose of inducing other persons, to purchase or dispose of the securities of the corporation or of a related corporation.
Insider trading or dealing is the purchase or sale of a company's securities effected by or on behalf of a person with knowledge of relevant but non-public material information regarding the company that may affect the price of the company's securities (price sensitive information) if made public.
The illustrations below are examples of market abuses and unethical business conduct set out in the Securities Commission's Guidelines on Market Conduct and Business Practices for Stockbrokers and Licensed Representatives.
Company A engages PLC B to undertake certain projects. Company A then short sells securities of PLC B and subsequently cancels the contract with PLC B, causing the security price to drop significantly.
Mr. X hires Mr. Y as consultant to provide public relations and assist his company in realising the value of its stocks. As compensation Mr. X pays Mr. Y RM50,000 cash per month and gives him a warrant to purchase 100,000 shares from the company at RM1 per share.
Mr. Y along with three other accomplices, i.e. the brother-in-law, secretary, and a clerk opens 10 separate margin accounts at 10 different brokers. Accounts are opened under a variety of names including dormant companies that Mr. Y controlled in order to hide Mr. Y's identity.
Mr. Y and his accomplices engage in an aggressive series of wash trades and match orders. Trading is done between the accomplices at successively higher price to move the market price up. Mr. Y is also personally touting the securities to stockbrokers and other investors.
The security which now carries an inflated price is utilised to secure additional margin facility. The cycle is repeated several times. At a certain stage, Mr. Y dumps or sells all securities under his control, causing the price of the securities to plummet.
Stockbroker A issues false trade reports for immediate publication to give an impression of activity or active trading in a counter to encourage investors to participate in order for stockbroker A to offset an unprofitable risk position.
"Arrangers or Introducers" were verbally engaged by stockbroker C to assist and facilitate stockbroker C in obtaining pre-placement bond trades, with stockbroker C seen ostensibly as facilitating the bond transactions between different companies or financial institutions.
Four parties were involved, namely Company A, Company B, stockbroker C and Company D. Company A sold bonds to Company B, who then sold them to stockbroker C. Stockbroker C then sold them to Company D, who finally sold them back to Company A. The transactions were carried out at the same value date but at different price levels.
The bond transactions mentioned above would result in Company A incurring an "opportunity loss", which accrued to the other parties involved. In other words, the other parties profited at the expense of Company A.
Profits from the bond trades would then be shared between stockbroker C and the "Introducers", where the "Introducers" received significant profits from the bond trades.
In this case, stockbroker C is used as a conduit or "middle person" to take advantage of opaque two-way quotes in bond trades to benefit its clients by executing the deals at the expense of the initial bond buyer/seller where the latter did not get the best price.
SBC A executed several married deals where the purchase and sale of securities did not involve any change in the beneficial ownership. The married deals were performed to give clients a deferment on settlement time for outstanding purchases (rollover).
The quantity and price of the securities transacted would be similar to the initial contract. However, the settlement period (due date) had been extended and additional brokerage was charged on clients for each rollover executed by the company.
Hence, the deals were transacted through the sales and purchases of securities without any change in beneficial ownership of the said securities.
Stockbroker A was instructed by Client A to purchase 10 million units of PLC P's securities on behalf of Client B from Client C. At settlement, Client A instructed stockbroker A to utilise Client C sales proceed to set-off against the purchases made by Client B.
The sale of PLC P's securities may not have involved a change in beneficial ownership of securities, as Client A had an interest in the securities before the purchase, and Client A had control over or was able to exert influence on Client B and/or Client C over the securities.
A remisier of stockbroker A assisted several clients by placing orders at the close of trading day, which caused the price of securities to move higher than the prior sales price. Simultaneously, orders at prices which are higher than the previous bid or lower than the previous offer were entered, and withdrawn before they could be executed, in order to give a misleading impression that there was demand for or supply of the securities at that price.
Dealer's representatives handling accounts of several big institutions/retail clients executed trades for their individual clients or accounts of related persons prior to the execution of trades of the big institutions/retail clients, with the view to front run and make quick profits.
A person with knowledge of a favourable or unfavourable research report purchases or sells securities in advance of the report being released.
The person trading is also responsible for giving buy or sell recommendations, e.g. purchases a security before recommending the security, and then sells the security at a profit upon the rise in the market price following the recommendation.
A person submits a large but not marketable limit order that raises the bid price of a security and/or greatly increases the quoted size at or around the current best bid price. The large order causes Market Participants to match or better the price of the order. The person then cancels the large order and enters (virtually at the same time) a sell order that matches the buy order of other investors at a higher price.
This is manipulation by "spoofing". By temporarily manipulating the bid price upward, and causing other bids and trading interest at that level, the person receives a better price for his security than what would have been the prevailing market price and/or volume if the person's large order had not been entered.
Spoofing is also used to manipulate the opening price of a security; e.g., via entry and immediate cancellation of lower priced sell orders with the objective of creating a more favourable buying opportunity for the manipulator.
A person takes a long position in a security and disseminates misleading information about the security to inflate its price then disposes it at a higher price.
A person takes a short position in a security and disseminates misleading negative information about the security to depress its price and to buy it at a lower price.