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May 29, 2019

Morin resigns from PSX’s CEO position


May 29, 2019

KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Tuesday said its chief executive officer has resigned from his position, but it couldn’t explain the reason behind his exit.

“We would like to inform you that Richard Morin has tendered his resignation from the position of Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Stock Exchange Limited, which was accepted by the board of directors of the company with immediate effect at its meeting,” the PSX said in an internal notice.

Morin was the first ever non-Pakistani to lead the bourse after having been appointed chief executive in January 2018, soon after a consortium led by three Chinese exchanges bought a controlling 40 percent stake in the exchange.

A PSX member said Morin was served three show-cause notices, but he couldn’t satisfy the board with his responses despite three opportunities. “Today he (Morin) tendered his resignation to get a face saving exit.”

Morin was disqualified on fit and proper criteria of the Securities Exchange (Licencing and Operations) Regulations due to his false reporting to the Canadian Securities Authority, PSX board and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

It had been established that Morin was working as chief compliance officer for a wealth management company in Canada and signed compliance reports on behalf of his Canadian wealth management company while in employment with the PSX, “thereby falsely reporting to regulatory bodies in two jurisdictions”.

Resignation of Morin raises a number of questions over the state of affairs of corporate sector, capital market and the apex regulator.

“His quick entry and snappy exit approves that no questions are asked from the ones who recommended his appointment, and the ones who approved his appointment in great haste,” an official said, requesting anonymity.

Claims of turning around the PSX were made at the time of his appointment, which included increasing investor base from 250,000 to 2.5 million in three years, launch of exchange-traded fund within a year, introduction of new trading platform and increasing liquidity at the PSX.

Sources said PSX departments are now overstaffed, while not even a single product was introduced, number of investors for the first time in the history decreased, the index nosedived, the market capitalisation was eroded by $46 billion within 15 months of his service, and PSX share value tumbled.

“It would leave a very bad mark over the functioning of our regulators, if Morin is allowed to leave without due investigation and imposition of penalties, because the law says, PSX MD appointment and relief is sole ‘jurisdiction’ of commission,” a broker said. “The PSX board has to take the responsibility and pay for the foreign trips that he (Morin) made on account of PSX and developed his own and his Chinese partner business.”

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