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Pine Capital's Greater China chief exits after ACPAM board removal

PINE Capital Group has announced the cessation of Wang Meng as its head of Greater China with effect from Aug 19, with Mr Wang expressing concerns related to his departure in the regulatory filing on Friday night.

Mr Wang, 30, had been in the position since May 10, 2019. The cessation was "by mutual agreement" after Mr Wang's removal as a director of Pine Capital unit Advance Capital Partners Asset Management (ACPAM) at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Aug 12.

Mr Wang expressed surprise "and that he was totally unaware about his removal" as ACPAM chief executive officer and director by ACPAM's shareholders. Mr Wang also said that no one spoke to him to ask him to leave, nor mentioned the intention of removing him.

ACPAM's only two shareholders are Pine Capital and ACPAM former interim chief executive officer and executive chairman Tan Choon Wee.

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Mr Wang said that he was not informed about the EGM, nor the EGM result until the evening of Aug 15. He added that he understood that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and ACPAM's corporate secretary were similarly unaware of the intention to remove him and not informed of the EGM. ACPAM is a registered fund management company regulated by the MAS.

In his exit interview, Mr Wang expressed concerns about ACPAM and Pine Capital group unit Pine Capital Shanghai's financial positions. He highlighted to Pine Capital's board on Aug 8 that "both subsidiaries may not have sufficient cash flow to operate by end of August 2019", according to Friday night's filing.

Regarding matters related to the cessation that need to be brought to the attention of shareholders, Mr Wang expressed concern about the lack of notice for the Aug 12 EGM, that he only learnt of his removal on Aug 15, and that MAS and ACPAM's company secretary were not informed of the EGM.

He was surprised the company had not discussed the given reason for removing him as director - that he demanded performance scheme shares - with him before.

And he "expressed his concerns about a possible procedural irregularity because he did not receive any 14-day notice in writing of the EGM pursuant to Companies Act Section 177(2)".

Mr Wang also expressed concerns about Mr Tan's appointment as ACPAM director at the EGM, as well as the appointment of Zico Insights Law LLA as ACPAM's counsel. Both Mr Tan and Zico were involved in ACPAM and Pine Capital during a period current subject to an independent review.

In July, the Catalist-listed financial services firm had appointed KordaMentha as the independent reviewer to investigate numerous allegations of potential conflict of interest and possible lapses in internal control, including those surrounding ACPAM.

"Mr Wang expressed concerns that the appointment of Mr Tan and Zico back to ACPAM may be highly appropriate to the integrity and confidentiality of the various ongoing investigations", said the filing.

Mr Tan had earlier been removed as a director of ACPAM at an Apr 5, 2019 EGM. He is an ACPAM shareholder, owning 3,832 shares which represent 49 per cent of ACPAM's issued share capital.

Mr Wang said he received an email from Zico on behalf of ACPAM's new directors on Aug 21, requesting a handover of ACPAM documents and specifically information in relation to his correspondence with MAS and relevant authorities. He added that he handed over all of ACPAM's corporate documents to Pine Capital on Aug 19.