Category: Risk Alert

Risk Alert: On Friday August 9, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Risk Alert to help market participants detect and prevent options trading that circumvents an SEC short sale rule…

Oct142014

Depositing Penny Stocks with Brokers Creates Obstacles; SEC Charges E*Trade with Section 5 Violation

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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Introduction

On October 9, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) filed an enforcement action against E*Trade Securities and E*Trade Capital Markets for selling billions of shares of unregistered and otherwise restricted penny stocks for their customers.  The SEC found that the firms processed the sales on behalf of three customers while ignoring red flags that the offerings being conducted were in violation of the federal securities laws in that the shares were neither registered nor subject to an available exemption from registration.  E*Trade Securities and E*Trade Capital Markets settled the enforcement proceeding by agreeing to pay a total of $2.5 million in disgorgement and penalties.

The SEC press release on the matter quoted Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, as saying, “Broker-dealers serve an important gatekeeping function that helps prevent microcap fraud by taking measures to ensure that unregistered shares don’t reach the market if the registration rules

Aug152013

SEC Issued Risk Alert on Options Trading Used to Evade Short Sale Requirements

On Friday August 9, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Risk Alert to help market participants detect and prevent options trading that circumvents an SEC short sale rule.

The SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) issued the alert after its examiners observed options trading strategies that appeared to evade certain requirements of the short-sale rule.  The alert describes and warns of the strategies used by some customers, broker-dealers and clearing firms, summarizes related enforcement actions, and makes suggestions regarding practices found to be effective in detecting and preventing trading intended to evade Regulation SHO.

Regulation SHO tightened requirements for short sales, which involve the selling of securities not already owned, usually by the borrowing of securities. Short sellers