Los Angeles Business Journal

Wedbush Charged With Market Access Violations

By Jonathan Polakoff Friday, June 6, 2014

Downtown Los Angeles brokerage Wedbush Securities was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for breaking the agency’s market access rules.

The SEC alleged Wedbush provided market access to overseas traders without ensuring the traders were complying with United States law. Wedbush was alleged to have also failed to put in place required pre-trade controls and to have failed to conduct adequate annual reviews of its market access risk management controls.

The violations are alleged to have begun in July 2011 and continued into last year. The SEC said the violations were caused by Jeffrey Bell, the former executive vice president in charge of Wedbush’s market access business, and Christina Fillhart, a senior vice president in the market access division.

The SEC said the non-compliance from Wedbush, one of the five largest firms by trading volume on Nasdaq, put the U.S markets at risk.

“We will hold Wedbush accountable for reaping substantial profits while failing to protect U.S. markets from the risks posed by these traders,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC Enforcement Division, in a statement.

In a statement to the Business Business, Wedbush said it "respectfully disagrees" with the SEC complaint.

"The firm believes that its risk management controls and procedures in this area were reasonably designed to achieve compliance with applicable regulatory requirements, and that they were consistent with the rules and guidance given by the SEC and its staff," the statement said.