July 18, 2024

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Argo Group Fined Over Perks to ‘Bon Vivant’ CEO

Insurance policies enterprise Argo Group Worldwide Holdings has agreed to pay back $900,000 to settle charges that it unsuccessful to disclose a lot more than $five.3 million in perks to its former CEO, which include own use of  corporate aircraft.

Mark Watson stepped down as CEO in November 2019, soon just after Argo said it experienced received subpoenas from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Fee searching for documents linked to its disclosures about government payment.

The SEC issued an administrative purchase final 7 days getting Argo understated the price of perks it gave Watson from 2014 through 2018 by 400{744e41c82c0a3fcc278dda80181a967fddc35ccb056a7a316bb3300c6fc50654}, disclosing only about $one.two million in its proxy statements when it experienced really compensated him a lot more than $five.3 million worthy of of added perks.

Even just after activist investor Voce Funds Management accused Argo in a February 2019 letter to shareholders of misdirecting corporate belongings “to assist the way of life and hobbies of [Watson] at the price of shareholders,” Argo allegedly unsuccessful to disclose a lot more than $one million worthy of of perks in its April 2019 proxy statement.

To settle the SEC’s charges, Argo agreed to pay back a $900,000 civil penalty.

Watson turned CEO of the underwriter of specialty insurance policy and reinsurance products and solutions in 2000 just after investing in predecessor enterprise Argonaut Group.

In accordance to the SEC, Argo disclosed perks compensated to Watson that consisted predominantly of 401(k) and retirement contributions, the imputed price of insurance policy coverage, supplemental government retirement strategy benefits, housing and household depart allowances, health care premiums and money setting up providers.

Those people exact proxy statements, having said that, allegedly did not disclose Argo experienced compensated for, amongst other matters, Watson’s own use of corporate aircraft and cars, helicopter trips, use of a automobile provider by relatives customers, club and concierge provider memberships, and tickets and transportation to sporting, fashion or other amusement occasions.

Voce Funds gave up a proxy combat in May well 2019. In its letter to shareholders, it said Watson “appears to be very the bon vivant” and that it was “deeply worried that Mr. Watson’s hobbies, pet assignments and the cult of persona he evidently needs to create for himself have commandeered and corrupted Argo’s priorities.”

Argo Group, Mark Watson, perks, U.S. Securities and Exchange Fee