May 19, 2024

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Argo Group Fined Over Perks to ‘Bon Vivant’ CEO

Insurance policies organization Argo Team International Holdings has agreed to pay back $900,000 to settle rates that it failed to disclose extra than $five.3 million in perks to its former CEO, which include personalized use of  corporate plane.

Mark Watson stepped down as CEO in November 2019, soon soon after Argo reported it had obtained subpoenas from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Fee in search of files connected to its disclosures about govt payment.

The SEC issued an administrative order previous week obtaining Argo understated the price of perks it gave Watson from 2014 by 2018 by four hundred{79e59ee6e2f5cf570628ed7ac4055bef3419265de010b59461d891d43fac5627}, disclosing only about $one.2 million in its proxy statements when it had truly compensated him extra than $five.3 million worthy of of additional perks.

Even soon after activist investor Voce Capital Management accused Argo in a February 2019 letter to shareholders of misdirecting corporate belongings “to help the lifestyle and hobbies of [Watson] at the expense of shareholders,” Argo allegedly failed to disclose extra than $one million worthy of of perks in its April 2019 proxy assertion.

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

Watson turned CEO of the underwriter of specialty coverage and reinsurance merchandise in 2000 soon after investing in predecessor organization Argonaut Team.

In accordance to the SEC, Argo disclosed perks compensated to Watson that consisted predominantly of 401(k) and retirement contributions, the imputed price of coverage coverage, supplemental govt retirement strategy benefits, housing and household leave allowances, clinical premiums and money scheduling expert services.

Individuals identical proxy statements, on the other hand, allegedly did not disclose Argo had compensated for, amongst other issues, Watson’s personalized use of corporate plane and cars, helicopter visits, use of a car support by spouse and children members, club and concierge support memberships, and tickets and transportation to sporting, trend or other leisure gatherings.

Voce Capital gave up a proxy battle in May 2019. In its letter to shareholders, it reported Watson “appears to be fairly the bon vivant” and that it was “deeply involved that Mr. Watson’s hobbies, pet initiatives and the cult of individuality he seemingly needs to generate for himself have commandeered and corrupted Argo’s priorities.”

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