FT: 'Inbred' miners may admire Hannam, but many not 'too sad' to see him go

Columnist for the Financial Times, John Gapper, argues that the City is right to "crack the whip on market abuse" following the fine imposed by UK regulators on Ian Hannam, aka 'the king of mining M&A'.

After advising on some of the biggest mining deals in the past two decades and luring many resource companies to London, Hannam is fighting to save his reputation, and he has a brand new website to polish his image while he appeals the decision.

The site, www.ianhannam.com, states that "since 1997 Hannam has advised on the listing of 12 large companies in London, six of which joined the FTSE 100 index."

Hannam quit his position as the chairman of JPMorgan Capital Markets on Tuesday, after being accused of passing on confidential information about a client, Heritage Oil, to a potential acquirer in Kurdistan.

Gapper writes that "Mr Hannam’s friends among executives and investors in the close-knit – not to say inbred – natural resources industry say that he is a larger-than-life original whom they admire and trust," but that JPMorgan ""does not seem too sad to see him resign:"

Mr Hannam knows many go-getting adventurers from military backgrounds, who specialise in putting boots on the ground in conflict-torn regions with mineral wealth. He was a captain in the Territorial Army (part-time) Special Air Services. Mr Buckingham [Heritage Oil CEO] was in the special forces before joining Executive Outcomes, the former South African private military group.

Mr Hannam introduced companies such as Kazakhmys and African Barrick Gold to London to reassure investors that listings and corporate governance rules would be obeyed even if their minerals came from oligarch-rich countries with poor records on human rights. That promise has to be kept.

Resources groups and the bankers who promote them merit close scrutiny since minerals have been linked in the past with financial scandals and market manipulation, from the nickel bubble that captivated the City in the 1960s and ended in the Poseidon crash, to the Hunt brothers’ cornering of the silver market in 1980.

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