A record fine imposed by the AMF H2O and its founders

The Sanctions Commission of the Financial Markets Authority on Tuesday imposed a record fine of 93 million euros on the asset management company H2O and its two founders for violation of the rules of protection of the interests of investors.

The fine rises 75million euros for H2O plus 15million euros for Bruno Crastes and 3million euros for Vincent Chailley, in accordance with the requisitions made during a public session at the end of November. The commission highlighted the damage suffered by investors resulting in particular from the blocking of their savings and the seriousness of the breaches.

Bruno Crastes, managing director at the time of the events, was also banned from acting as manager for 5 years, while H2O and Vincent Chailley, then director of investments, received a reprimand.

The Sanctions Committee upheld all the grievances alleged against H2O in the context of its investments in financial securities of the Tennor group, linked to the controversial German businessman Lars Windhorst.

Liquidity shortage

For more than three years, until the suspension of the relevant funds from H2O in August 2020, the company acquired securities corresponding to the Tennor private debt for 2.25 billion euros.

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The AMF notably pointed to the lack of liquidity of these instruments, the fact that they did not fall within the framework of the investment policy fixed by the fund prospectuses and the fact that H2O did not have information enough to invest reliably.

H2O announced on Tuesday, before the publication of the sanction, that it would reimburse a first part of the blocked funds in the coming days. These had been subscribed by thousands of savers, mainly French.

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