The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced Monday that it has fined Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. $675,000 for charging unfair prices in municipal securities transactions and for failing to have an adequate supervisory system. Oppenheimer was also ordered to pay more than $246,000 in restitution, plus interest, to customers who were charged unfair prices.
In addition, FINRA fined Oppenheimer’s head municipal securities trader, David Sirianni, $100,000, and suspended him for 60 days.
In concluding this settlement, Oppenheimer and Sirianni neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA’s findings.
“FINRA has no tolerance for firms or individuals who charge customers excessive markups,” said Thomas Gira, FINRA executive vice president and head of Market Regulation, in a statement. “Oppenheimer charged customers unfair prices in numerous municipal securities transactions and failed to properly supervise municipal securities transactions with its customers.”
FINRA said that it found that from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009, Oppenheimer, through Sirianni, priced 89 customer transactions from 5.01% to 15.57% above the firm’s contemporaneous cost. In 54 of those transactions, the markups exceeded 9.4%.