Former Milford Asset Management portfolio manager Mark Warminger has withdrawn a challenge to a High Court ruling that he manipulated the share market.

Warminger was ordered to pay a $400,000 penalty after he was found to have manipulated the market in specific trades of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (FPH) and A2 Milk (ATM) shares.

The trader, who has also been banned from managing a company for five years, was appealing the market manipulation finding but has withdrawn that challenge.

In a statement issued by Marc Corlett QC Warminger said he does not agree with the High Court's decision, but is bringing an end to the litigation. He revealed he is recovering from a health issue.


"I must accept the irrevocable impact that the decision has had on any career that I might have continued or pursued in the financial markets.

"In addition, I face a long recovery from a health issue that makes it sensible to put this matter behind me and allow me to focus on something other than continuing litigation."

The Financial Markets Authority, which sued Warminger, alleged that 10 instances of Warminger's trading breached market manipulation rules.

Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning found that two instances of 10 trades did. While Warminger is withdrawing his appeal over the two trades, the FMA is also withdrawing a cross appeal over the other eight.

FMA chief executive Rob Everett said that the result "demonstrates there are serious consequences for this type of misconduct".

"Market participants and the public want to know that the law is being upheld, and where there are instances of market manipulation and misconduct, those responsible will be held to account. We are satisfied that our regulatory objectives have been achieved in taking these proceedings."

Justice Venning said in March that Warminger breached the Securities Market Act "by manipulating the market for shares in FPH on 27 May 2014 by increasing the offer quote and price for FPH shares and maintaining them at a higher level than otherwise would have been the case and also by entering a crossing for the sale of FPH shares which created a misleading appearance as the price of the crossing was influenced by his earlier trades".

Justice Venning also declared that Warminger breached that same law "by manipulating the market for shares in ATM on 9 July 2014 by increasing the offer quote and price for ATM shares and maintaining them at a higher level than otherwise would have been the case and has also created a misleading appearance as to the demand and/or price for ATM shares on the day".


Prior to announcing its case against Warminger, the FMA reached a $1.5m settlement with Milford following a market manipulation probe. Milford rejected any liability in reaching the deal. Warminger is no longer an employee at Milford Asset Management but still owns 1.46 per cent of the company.

Milford appointed PwC to review its governance, risk and compliance capabilities.

That review led to a series of changes in its trading systems, including the introduction of centralised dealing, through which staff who are not involved in funds management execute trades, the company said.