Du Jun, a former managing director of the Wall Street investment bank, also was fined about 23.3 million Hong Kong dollars (about $3 million).
The 41-year-old Beijing-native showed little emotion as a Hong Kong judge chastised him for his "greed" and "dishonesty and fraudulence." Du risked making the illegal trades even though he was earning well over $2 million a year at Morgan Stanley.
"The scale was unprecedented," Judge Andrew Chan said, referring to the millions Du used in his trades.
Du's lawyer Alexander King declined to say whether his client would appeal, only saying "use your common sense," The Associated Press reports.
"This sentencing sends the strongest possible message to anyone tempted to commit an insider dealing offence in the future," Mark Steward, the Commission's Executive Director of enforcement told reporters outside the court.
Du was charged with acquiring shares worth HK$86 million in CITIC Resources between February and April 2007 while he had material and price-sensitive information not known to the market on the firm's plans to acquire oil field assets in China.
The verdict comes 14 months after Du was arrested at the Hong Kong airport.
The SFC, long criticized for being too soft on Hong Kong's clubby financial circles, has won a total of 10 convictions for insider trading since March this year. These include those of a former BNP Paribas Peregrine Capital investment banker and a former director of investment banking at CLSA Equity Capital Markets, Reuters reports.
The sentence was the maximum and comes amid a crackdown on financial crime.
Citic Resources is an arm of China's largest state-owned investment company, Citic Group.
Du was convicted of nine counts of insider trading and one of advising his wife to deal in shares of Citic Resources, BBC reports.