Securities Research Fraud and Deceit FINRA Arbitration and Litigation Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Wunderlich Securities, Inc. (CRD #2543, Memphis, Tennessee) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was censured and fined $50,000. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that it failed to supervise the personal trading of research analysts who maintained discretionary accounts at other firms. The findings stated that the firm’s WSPs mandated compliance department review of personal trading of research analysts but, as a matter of policy, the firm did not require compliance review of analyst accounts over which discretionary trading authority had been granted to a third-party manager or advisor. As a result of that policy, the firm did not review the personal trading of two research analysts who held discretionary accounts at other firms. The findings also stated that the firm issued equity research reports that failed to comply with NASD Rule 2711(h) disclosure requirements. In some research reports in which it disclosed that it had served as manager or co-manager of a public offering of securities for the subject company in the preceding 12 months, it failed to disclose also that it had received compensation from the company for investment-banking services in connection with the offering. One research report failed to disclose that the firm had served as manager or co-manager of a public offering for the company in the preceding 12 months. Research reports failed to disclose that the firm was a market maker in the subject company’s securities at the time the report was published. Some research reports were issued with indefinite disclosure regarding financial interests held in the securities of the subject company. Other research reports were issued with disclosures not prominently presented. The findings also included that, in connection with two public appearances by firm research department personnel, the firm failed to disclose its receipt of compensation from the subject company in the preceding 12 months. FINRA found that the firm maintained on its company website a list of all companies its research analysts covered, and for each company listed, the firm provided its current rating and price target for the company’s stock, but failed to include the disclosures mandated by NASD Rule 2210(d) and IM 2210-1(6)(a) with respect to potential conflicts of interest. (FINRA Case #2010020967601).