$2.6M Texas Securities Fraud Settlement: Hedge Fund Adviser Settles SEC Allegations Involving Violations Related to Improper Public Stock Offering Participation After Short Selling

Carlson Capital L.P. has agreed to pay over $2.6 million to resolve charges that it wrongly participated in 4 public stock offerings after short selling the same securities. The Texas securities fraud charges were brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against the a Dallas-based hedge fund adviser. By agreeing to settle for $2,653,234, Carlson Capital is not denying or admitting to the allegations of securities misconduct.

According to the SEC, the Texas hedge fund violated Rule 105 four times and lacked adequate procedures and policies to keep the firm from taking part in the relevant offerings. During one occasion, Carlson Capital allegedly violated the rule even though the portfolio manager that purchased the offering shares and the one that sold short the stock were not the same person. The SEC determined that Rule 105’s “separate accounts” exception, which allows the purchase of an offered security in an account that is “separate” from the account used through which the same security was sold short, did not apply in this case. The SEC also found that the portfolio manager that sold short the stock during the restricted period had been given information indicating that the other portfolio manager was planning on buying the offerings.

Rule 105 of Regulation M
This rule helps prevent short selling, which can lower the proceeds received by shareholders and companies by artificially depressing the market price not long before the company issues its public offering price. Rule 105 is there to make sure that the natural forces of supply and demand, and not manipulation, sets the offering price. The short sale of an equity security during the restricted period and the purchase of the same security through the offering are prohibited.

During the SEC’s investigation into the allegations, Carlson Capital implemented remedial steps, including putting into place an automated system that assists in the review of the firm’s previous short sales prior to it taking part in offerings.

Related Web Resources:
SEC Charges Dallas-Based Hedge Fund Adviser for Participating in Stock Offerings After Selling Short, SEC.gov, September 23, 2010
SEC Order Against Carlson Capital L.P. (PDF)

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