King of the Miners resigns

“King of the Miners”, Ian Hannam has been forced to quit in allegations brought against him by the Financial Services Authority. He stands accused by the FSA of breaching market rules in October 2008, claims that he fiercely denies and has already fought over a years legal battle to clear his name.

Ian Hannam has had a fascinating career starting back with the Special Air Service, one of the United Kingdom’s premier special forces regiment (only surpassed by the Special Boat Service and Royal Marine Commandos) to now heading up JP Morgan Casenove’s Capital Markets Team as the Chairman.

He became known as the “King of the Miners” as a consequence of his ability to bring many of the major miners to the London Stock Exchange and also has played a critical part in putting together the major mining deals of the last decade. The Xstrata deal was mainly put together by the ex SAS soldier and also played a critical part in the floatation of both SABMiller and Vedanta Resources. All of which have helped to make him a very rich man. This is a long way away from his humble beginnings in the corporate world where he started his career with Taylor Woodrow the house builder. He moved into banking in the early 1980’s with Solomon Brothers before moving onto Fleming’s which was ultimately bought by Casenove’s.

The current case stems back to a deal in October 2008 when Hannam was working on a deal for buying Heritage Oil for another client and, according to the FSA, sent an email which contained 11 words which could cost the ex-soldier turned banker £450,000. “PS – Tony, has just found oil and it is looking good”. Prior to that in September an email was sent from Hannam stating that there could be a potential bid for Heritage Oil.

This was deemed as “inside” information by the financial regulator and as a consequence took action over a year ago. Hannam rejected the initial decision and instead took it to the Regulatory Decisions Committee – an independent body of City of London experts that acts like an interim or small tribunal, they decided to keep the original fine of £450,000. Hannam rejected this decision again and as a consequence the FSA has taken the case to a Upper Tribunal to be happening later this year.

Hannam was quoted as saying that he maintains his “fit and proper” status by the FSA and it has always accepted that he acted in the interests of the client, acting with honesty and integrity.

Hannam went on to state that he tendered his resignation to prevent this overshadowing his clients and team who continue to conduct good, honest work.

Needless to say Hannam will remain on in his post until the £50bn Xstrata-Glencore merger is complete later on this year.

To date out of the 24 cases that have come to the Upper Tribunal, only 2 have found against the Financial Services Authority. Hannam is happy to take this risk to defend his name.

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