Posted: 1:44 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013
We were very sorry to learn that former Duke guard Steve Gray, who was with the firm Dennard & Lascar Associates (yes, that’s Kenny Dennard’s firm), has been charged with insider trading. From the SEC release of July 26:
“The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged the former CEO of a Houston-based investor relations firm with insider trading in the securities of multiple firm clients.
“The SEC alleges that Stephen B. Gray obtained confidential information about the companies while the firm assisted them with drafting and publishing press releases to announce quarterly and annual earnings, mergers and acquisitions, and other major events. Gray then traded on the basis of that material, non-public information for profits and avoided losses of more than $313,000 during a 13-month period. Gray disregarded the firm’s standard agreements with clients to protect confidential information and use it solely for business purposes, and he also flouted the firm’s “statement of policy regarding securities trades” that prohibited trading by firm personnel when in possession of non-public information about clients. Gray was fired last October after the firm learned about the SEC’s investigation.”
Dennard’s firm issued a statement following the release. It’s important to note that the firm has not been implicated in any way in these charges. Here’s the full document:
STATEMENT ON SEC ACTIONS REGARDING A FORMER FIRM ASSOCIATE
HOUSTON . July 26, 2013 – We at Dennard/Lascar Associates support the efforts of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to enforce insider trading laws against both individuals and institutions.
Accordingly, we were shocked and extremely disappointed when we were notified in late September 2012 of a non-public inquiry by the SEC into alleged illegal trading activities by a previous administrative member of our former firm. We immediately began cooperating with the authorities and continue to do so. Immediate action was taken to limit the individualfs access to facilities, files, and communications of the firm and an internal investigation began, resulting in the individualfs termination in October 2012.
We have been assured that the SECfs inquiry and actions concern only this one previous administrative member of our former firm, who has no association with or involvement in Dennard . Lascar Associates. The SEC has assured us that our firm has fully cooperated with the investigation of this individual.
We operate by a strict Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which includes the following requirement:
Employees must not use for personal gain, or reveal outside of the Company, material information which is neither known nor available to the general public.h Additionally, our internal Policy Regarding Securities Trades by Company Personnel strictly prohibits any trading of securities based on insider information.
Our firm, as well as our former firm, DRG&L, has consistently had these policies in place. Each member and employee has acknowledged that he or she understands and will abide by these policies.
In each of our 20+ year careers as investor relations professionals, we never imagined this situation could or would ever arise with someone we thought we knew well. As we advise our clients, total cooperation with federal authorities in matters such as these is paramount. We value the relationship of trust that we have with our clients and continue to reaffirm our commitment and vigilance to safeguard against the improper use of client information.
Ken Dennard & Jack Lascar
Dennard/Lascar Associates, LLC
Phone: (713) 529-6600