SEC Names Kevin Kelcourse as Associate Director for Exam Program in Boston
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it has named Kevin M. Kelcourse as the associate director for the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) in Boston. In that role, he will oversee the SEC’s exam program in six New England states with a staff of approximately 65 examiners, accountants and attorneys.
Mr. Kelcourse has spent 15 years in the SEC’s Boston office, starting as a senior counsel in the Enforcement Division in 1999 and later serving as a branch chief. Since 2010, he has been an assistant regional director and an assistant director in the Enforcement Division’s Asset Management Unit, and he has worked with the exam program since 2011, serving on the office’s joint Enforcement Examination Referral Committee.
During his tenure, Mr. Kelcourse played a significant role in numerous SEC enforcement actions, including cases in 2013 against former Jefferies LLC bond trader Jesse Litvak for defrauding investors in...
SEC Charges HSBC’s Swiss Private Banking Unit With Providing Unregistered Services to U.S. Clients
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged HSBC’s Swiss-based private banking arm with violating federal securities laws by failing to register with the SEC before providing cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to U.S. clients.
HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) agreed to admit wrongdoing and pay $12.5 million to settle the SEC’s charges.
“HSBC’s Swiss private banking unit illegally conducted advisory or brokerage business with U.S. customers,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “HSBC Private Bank’s efforts to prevent registration violations ultimately failed because their compliance initiatives were not effectively implemented or monitored.”
According to the SEC’s order instituting settled administrative proceedings, HSBC Private Bank and its predecessors began providing cross-border advisory and brokerage services in the U.S. more than 10 years ago, amassing as many as 368 U.S. client accounts and collecting fees totaling approximately $5.7 million. Personnel traveled to the U.S. on at least 40 occasions to...
SEC Charges Penny Stock Company Executives in New Jersey With Issuing False Press Releases to Inflate Stock Price
The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged father-and-son executives at a New Jersey-based penny stock company for issuing false and misleading press releases while secretly selling thousands of their own stock shares into the market. They agreed to pay nearly $325,000 and accept officer-and-director bars to settle the SEC’s charges.
Conolog Corporation’s public filings state that it manufactures communications equipment primarily for use by electric utilities, fiber optic service providers, and the military. The SEC alleges that Conolog issued three consecutive press releases in early 2010 with distorted information at the behest of chairman and then-CEO Robert Benou with assistance from his son and company president Marc Benou. Among the company’s mischaracterizations were that Conolog had secured $1.9 million in new equipment orders when, in fact, only $50,000 worth of new orders had been received at the time. Conolog also created the misimpression that it had developed new fiber optic technology...
SEC Charges CEO and Close Friend With Insider Trading Ahead of Company Sale
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced insider trading charges against a then-CEO and a close friend he provided with confidential details about his New Jersey-based company’s nonpublic merger discussions that enabled the friend to make $164,260 in trading profits after it was sold to a private equity firm.
The SEC alleges that William E. Redmond Jr. frequently dined at a Manhattan restaurant managed by Stefano Signorastri, with whom he eventually became good friends and discussed personal matters as well as his work at GenTek Inc., an engineering and chemical company where he served on the board of directors in addition to being CEO. GenTek’s nonpublic negotiations to find suitors for a company sale were among the topics that Redmond shared with Signorastri. Redmond’s frequent disclosures of confidential corporate information to Signorastri violated his fiduciary duty and other duties of trust and confidence that he owed to GenTek.
According to the SEC’s...
Wedbush Securities and Two Officials Agree to Settle SEC Case
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...