Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Market Access Charges Against Wedbush Securities and Others

The SEC has filed charges Wedbush Securities Inc., which has consistently ranked as one of the five largest firms by trading volume on NASDAQ, allegng that it failed to maintain direct and exclusive control over settings in trading platforms used by its customers to send orders to the markets. Wedbush did not have the required pre-trade controls, failed to restrict trading access to people whom the firm preapproved and authorized, and did not conduct an adequate annual review of its market access risk management controls. The Enforcement Division alleges that the firm's violations of the market access rule were caused by Jthe former executive vice president in charge of Wedbush's market access business, and a senior vice president in the market access division, who were also charged.

According to the SEC's order instituting administrative proceedings, the violations began in July 2011 and continued into 2013. Wedbush allowed the majority of its market access customers to send orders directly to U.S. trading venues by using trading platforms over which Wedbush did not have direct and exclusive control. Bell was aware of the requirements of the market access rule and should have known that the firm's risk management controls and supervisory procedures related to market access did not comply with the market access rule. Fillhart also had responsibility for overseeing Wedbush's market access business and received inquiries by exchanges about potential violations by Wedbush and its customers. Despite these red flags, Fillhart did not take adequate steps to prompt the firm to adopt reasonably designed risk management controls.

According to the SEC's order, in addition to violating the market access rule (Securities Exchange Act Rule 15c3-5), Wedbush violated other regulatory requirements as a result of trading by its market access customers. These violations include Rule 203(b)(1) of Regulation SHO relating to short sales, Rule 611(c) of Regulation NMS related to intermarket sweep orders, Rule 17a-8 concerning anti-money laundering requirements, and Rule 17a-4(b)(4) concerning the preservation of records.

The proceeding before an administrative law judge will determine whether Wedbush willfully violated these provisions of the federal securities laws, and whether Bell and Fillhart were causes of the firm's violations of the market access rule. The judge also will decide what sanctions, if any, are appropriate.

For more information - SEC Announces Charges Against Wedbush Securities and Two Officials for Market Access Violations
Post a Comment