The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday that Los Angeles-based broker-dealer Wedbush Securities and two of its top officials have agreed to settle a pending SEC case for market access violations.
Wedbush Securities settled by admitting wrongdoing, paying a $2.44 million penalty and retaining an independent consultant.
Wedbush’s former executive vice president Jeffrey Bell and senior vice president Christina Fillhart also agreed, without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, to settle the charges against them for causing Wedbush’s violations of the market access rule.
Bell and Fillhart agreed to pay a combined total of more than $85,000 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and penalties.
The SEC’s order finds that Wedbush violated the market access rule by failing to have adequate risk controls in place before providing customers with access to the market, including some customer firms with thousands of essentially anonymous overseas traders.
The order also finds that Wedbush committed other violations in connection with its market access business.
“Wedbush acknowledges that it granted access to thousands of overseas traders without having appropriate safeguards in place,” Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC Enforcement Division, said in a statement. “Broker-dealers who enjoy the benefits of being registered must honor the responsibilities that come with that status, and we will continue to hold responsible those who provide market access without implementing proper risk controls.”