The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Los Angeles-based broker-dealer Wedbush Securities agreed to settle a pending SEC case for market access violations by admitting wrongdoing, paying a $2.44 million penalty, and retaining an independent consultant.
The SEC’s order finds that Wedbush violated the market access rule by failing to have adequate risk controls in place before providing customers with access to the market, including some customer firms with thousands of essentially anonymous overseas traders. The order also finds that Wedbush committed other violations in connection with its market access business.
“Wedbush acknowledges that it granted access to thousands of overseas traders without having appropriate safeguards in place,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC Enforcement Division. “Broker-dealers who enjoy the benefits of being registered must honor the responsibilities that come with that status, and we will continue to hold responsible those who provide market access without implementing proper risk controls.”
Wedbush’s former executive vice president Jeffrey Bell and senior vice president Christina Fillhart also agreed to settle the charges against them for causing Wedbush’s violations of the market access rule. Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, they agreed to pay a combined total of more than $85,000 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and penalties.
The Enforcement Division’s litigation was led by John Yun and Aaron Arnzen of the San Francisco Regional Office and Steven Buchholz of the Market Abuse Unit and San Francisco office. The case was supervised by Daniel Hawke and Robert Cohen, Chief and Co-Deputy Chief of the Market Abuse Unit, and Jina Choi, Director of the San Francisco office.