SEC Announces Agenda for May 13 Meeting of the Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that its Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting on May 13. The meeting will focus on Rule 611 of SEC Regulation NMS, known as the “Order Protection Rule” or “Trade-through Rule.”
Rule 611 requires trading centers to have policies and procedures designed to prevent “trade throughs” – trades at prices that are inferior to displayed and immediately accessible quotations at other trading centers.
“Enhancing our equity market structure remains a top priority,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “As we continue to make progress in this important area, the committee’s experience and diverse viewpoints will provide valuable insight as we work together to further strengthen our overall market structure.”
The Commission established the advisory committee in February to provide a formal mechanism through which the Commission can receive advice and recommendations on equity market structure issues.
The meeting will be held...
SEC Charges 10 Individuals in Scheme to Sell Stock in Blank Check Companies Secretly Bound for Reverse Mergers
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against 10 individuals involved in a scheme to offer and sell penny stock in undisclosed “blank check” companies bound for reverse mergers while misrepresenting to the public that they were promising startups with business plans.
Blank check companies generally have no operations and no value other than their status as a registered entity, which makes them attractive targets for unscrupulous individuals seeking reverse mergers with clean shells ripe for pump-and-dump schemes. The federal securities laws impose various requirements on blank check companies to prevent such illicit use. The SEC alleges that Daniel P. McKelvey of Foster City, Calif., Alvin S. Mirman of Sarasota, Fla., and Steven Sanders of Lake Worth, Fla., routinely evaded these requirements by creating undisclosed blank check companies and installing figurehead company officers while falsely depicting in registration statements and other SEC filings that the companies were pursuing real...
SEC Charges New York-Based Financial Advisor With Stealing $20 Million From Customers
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges against a New York City-based financial advisor accused of stealing at least $20 million from customers to fund his own brokerage accounts and then squandering the bulk of the money in highly unprofitable options trading.
The SEC alleges that Michael J. Oppenheim abused his position as a private client advisor at a global bank and persuaded some customers to withdraw millions of dollars out of their accounts by promising he would purchase safe and secure municipal bonds on their behalf. Instead, Oppenheim bought himself cashier’s checks and deposited them into his own brokerage account or his wife’s account that he controlled. Almost immediately after each theft and deposit, Oppenheim allegedly embarked on sizeable trading of stocks and options including Tesla, Apple, Google, and Netflix. Oppenheim typically lost the entire amount of each deposit, and his brokerage accounts currently show minimal cash balances. ...
SEC Staff and FINRA Issue Report on National Senior Investor Initiative
With the Social Security Administration estimating that each day for the next 15 years, an average of 10,000 Americans will turn 65, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today issued a report to help broker-dealers assess, craft, or refine their policies and procedures for investors as they prepare for and enter into retirement.
The National Senior Investor Initiative report includes observations and practices identified in examinations that focused on how firms conduct business with senior investors. The examinations by the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) and FINRA focused on the types of securities purchased by senior investors, the suitability of recommended investments, training of brokerage firm representatives, marketing, communications, use of designations such as “senior specialist,” account documentation, disclosures, customer complaints, and supervision.
According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2011, more than...
SEC Halts Investment Scheme Targeting Military Personnel
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a man living in central Texas accused of telling false tales about his stockbroking experience to lure current and former U.S. military personnel into investing with him.
The SEC alleges that Leroy Brown Jr. touted his own military connection as an Army veteran while soliciting members of the military and other investors through his firm LB Stocks and Trades Advice LLC. Brown falsely assured investors, including some stationed at nearby Fort Hood, that he had many years of experience in the securities markets. He specifically claimed to have all the necessary licenses and registrations to conduct securities business. In reality, Brown is not a licensed securities professional and his firm is not registered with the SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or any state regulator. Brown and his firm have no evident experience with investments.
The SEC further alleges...