Oppenheimer & Co. Agrees to Settle FINRA Market Timing Charges for $4.5 Million

Oppenheimer & Co. has settled Financial Industry Regulatory Association charges regarding the market timing of mutual funds. The company has agreed to pay $4.25 million as restitution to five dozen mutual fund companies, as well as a $250,000 fine.

FINRA says that Oppenheimer failed to stop five traders’ engagement in improper, short-term mutual fund trading. The self-regulatory organization noted Oppenheimer’s failure to set up, manage, and enforce systems of supervision to detect and prevent market timing activities.

As a result, FINRA says that Oppenheimer disregarded hundreds of warnings and requests from mutual funds and life insurance companies that they stop making the improper trades. Some 65 mutual funds even warned Oppenheimer that short-term trades were not in the best interests of long-term shareholders.

FINRA says that five Oppenheimer traders maintained approximately 580 accounts for 15 hedge fund clients. FINRA says that the brokers tried to get around market timing trading blocks. They also tried to hide the real identities of the account holders and distributed the market timing money over multiple accounts.

51 registered representative numbers were used to make it look like reps that hadn’t been blocked were engaging in the trades. The traders used omnibus trading platforms run by Fidelity and Schwab to hide their identities. FINRA says that they also sold variable annuity contracts to hedge fund clients so that they could use the yearly sub-accounts for market timing activities.

The improper activities caused Oppenheimer to generate approximately $9 million in gross revenue. Oppenheimer is not admitting to or denying the allegations by agreeing to settle.

If you are an investor who has lost money because you were the victim of broker misconduct, contact Shepherd Smith and Edwards right way and ask for your free consultation with one of our stockbroker fraud lawyers.

Related Web Resources:

Oppenheimer Pays $4.5 Million in Market-Timing Probe, Bloomberg.com, February 21, 2008
Oppenheimer & Co, Inc.