Jefferies Group Inc. is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of a probe into whether brokerages doled out gifts to mutual fund executives to win trading business, people familiar with the matter said this week.
The SEC and NASD are seeking information from about two dozen firms that may have given or received gifts such as Super Bowl tickets, golf outings and expensive wine.
Jefferies, which was founded in Los Angeles but has been based in New York since 2002, fired sales trader Kevin Quinn, 38, on Oct. 11 for improper travel and entertainment costs. Quinn's sole client was Fidelity Investments, the world's largest mutual fund company.
The formal inquiry by the SEC may signal that regulators want to curb the industry's gift giving to remove any suspicions that it influences fund executives, said James Angel, a finance professor at Georgetown University.