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Oppenheimer Settles NASD Reporting Claims

October 05, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. agreed Wednesday to pay $800,000 to settle NASD accusations that it didn't report thousands of municipal securities transactions, deleted e-mails and failed to turn over information. It is the brokerage's third-largest fine in the last year for reporting or regulatory failings.

NASD found that Oppenheimer & Co., the Toronto company's main subsidiary based in New York, failed to report on time more than 6,100 municipal bond transactions to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board from January 2003 to May 2004. The broker later reported hundreds of the transactions inaccurately, the NASD said in a statement. Investors depend on the reports to know whether they are getting fair prices.

"Firms must respond timely and completely to regulatory requests, report transactions timely and accurately and maintain business-related electronic communications," James Shorris, head of enforcement for the Washington-based NASD, said in the statement. "Oppenheimer repeatedly failed to comply with these fundamental regulatory obligations."

Within the last year, Oppenheimer has faced repeated accusations of reporting problems from NASD, the New York Stock Exchange and federal regulators. It agreed in December to pay $4.4 million to settle accusations by the NYSE and the U.S. Treasury Department that it didn't adequately monitor for money laundering. It also agreed to pay a $1.35-million NYSE penalty for a list of supervisory and control failures.

NASD, formerly the National Assn. of Securities Dealers, also launched one case and settled another with Oppenheimer in January over different reporting and disclosure violations.

Oppenheimer didn't admit or deny wrongdoing, NASD said. Under the deal, the company will hire a consultant to review and improve its procedures.

Oppenheimer "is happy to put these outstanding regulatory issues behind it," the company said in a statement.

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