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Broker-Dealer Failed to Discipline Commission-Sharing Traders

 The SEC fined a broker-dealer $1.25 Million for failing to take sufficient disciplinary action against brokers that shared commissions in violation of firm policy.  The SEC asserts that the one broker, who ultimately became a supervisor, assigned accounts to junior traders in exchange for off-the-book kickbacks paid by personal checks.  The transactions violated the firm’s policies and procedures and books and records requirements.  Upon discovering the arrangement 13 years after it began as a result of a FINRA investigation, the firm responded by issuing a memo condemning the activity and offering the participants the opportunity to resign.  The SEC faults the firm for failing to discipline the wrongdoers.

OUR TAKE: Having policies and procedures, but taking no significant action against those who violate them, eviscerates their purpose.  This compliance voodoo – the mere appearance of a compliance program – will draw the ire of the regulators.