- Wirex launches first-ever multi-currency accounts in Europe
- EBA publishes its Roadmap on Fintech setting out priorities for 2018/2019
- David Thorburn to join Barclays UK’s Board as Non-Executive Director
- Financial services now paving the way for digital transformation
- MFS becomes the first UK bridging lender to expand into Asia
- Women investors across UK and Europe overwhelmingly back female founders
- CMA announces two senior appointments expired
- FAB responds to media speculation suggesting intent to manipulate the Qatari riyal expired
- Most affordable mortgages in a decade, according to Halifax review expired
- MarketInvoice reaches £2bn milestone for loans to UK companies expired
- Finance industry stops £1.4bn in attempted fraud expired
- Goldman Sachs’ president and Co-Chief Operating Officer is to retire expired
13th March 2018
Merrill Lynch charged with gatekeeping failures in the unregistered sales of securities
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled charges against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. for its failure to perform required gatekeeping functions in the unregistered sales of securities on behalf of a China-based issuer and its affiliates.
The SEC’s order found that Merrill Lynch sold almost three million shares of Longtop Financial Technological Limited’s securities into the market despite red flags indicating that the sales could be part of an unlawful unregistered distribution. Ultimately, the distribution generated almost $38m in proceeds for the overseas issuer and its affiliates.
“Broker-dealers are important gatekeepers,” said Antonia Chion, Associate Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “A broker-dealer has a duty to conduct a reasonable inquiry and know its customers before effecting unregistered sales of securities.”
The SEC’s order found that Merrill Lynch violated Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933. In settlement, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, the firm agreed to be censured and consented to the order requiring it to cease and desist from committing or causing any future violations of the registration provisions of the Securities Act.
The order also requires Merrill Lynch to pay a penalty of $1.25m and more than $154k in disgorgement and prejudgment interest from commissions and fees earned on the improper sales. The SEC has revoked the registration of Longtop’s securities.