Asset manager H2O and its two founders fined 93 million euros

The addition is salty. The sanctions commission of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) imposed, on Tuesday, January 3, a heavy fine on the asset management company H2O and its two founders for violation of the rules for the protection of investors’ interests.

The fine amounts to 75 million euros for H2O, to which are added 15 million for Bruno Crastes and 3 million for Vincent Chailley, in accordance with the requisitions taken during a public session at the end of November 2022.

The committee pointed out “the damage suffered by investors resulting in particular from the blocking of their savings” and of “the seriousness of the breaches”. It retained all of the grievances alleged against H2O in the context of its investments in financial securities of the Tennor group, linked to the German businessman Lars Windhorst.

“Lack of liquidity”

Mr. Crastes, managing director at the time of the events, was also banned from exercising the activity of manager for five years, while H2O and Mr. Chailley, then director of investments, received a reprimand.

For more than three years, until the suspension of the relevant funds from H2O in August 2020, the company acquired securities corresponding to Tennor private debt for 2.25 billion euros. The AMF notably criticized the “liquidity shortage” of these instruments, the fact that they “did not fall within the scope of the investment policy set by the fund prospectuses” and the fact that H2O did not have “sufficient information” to invest “reliably”.

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

The World with AFP

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