NERA Expert's Testimony before the Alberta Securities Commission Helps Former Executives of Grande Cache Coal Corporation Win Dismissal of Insider Trading Allegations: Stan, Re, 2013 ABASC 148

The Situation

On 5 December 2011, enforcement staff ("Staff") of the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) formally issued a Statement of Allegations against several former senior executives of Grande Cache Coal Corporation. Staff alleged that the senior executives (the "Respondents") engaged in illegal insider trading in mid-2008 by selling shares of the Company while in possession of undisclosed material facts. In particular, Staff alleged that, at the time of the impugned trades, Respondents knew the extent to which the volume of Grande Cache's coal production and its sales for the first quarter of its 2009 fiscal year (1 April to 30 June 2008) would be below the Company's prior guidance (the "Alleged Material Facts") and that, if generally disclosed, this information would reasonably be expected to have had a significant negative effect on the market price or value of the shares (i.e., that information constituted "material facts" as defined in the Alberta Securities Act).

NERA's Role

NERA Vice President Bradley A. Heys was retained by counsel for the Respondents to conduct an economic analysis of the significance of the Alleged Material Facts to the value and market price of the shares of Grande Cache.

The Result

Mr. Heys demonstrated that the Alleged Material Facts would not reasonably have been expected to have a significant effect on either the value or market price of the Company's shares.

Mr. Heys was accepted as an expert in economics, finance, and the valuation of securities, and provided expert testimony at a hearing before a panel of the ASC in the fall of 2012. In a ruling issued on 10 April 2013, the Panel dismissed all allegations against the Respondents.