Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. (Oppenheimer) was fined $675,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and ordered to pay over $246,000 in restitution to customers for charging unfair prices in municipal securities transactions and for failing to have an adequate supervisory system. FINRA also fined Oppenheimer's head municipal securities trader, David Sirianni, $100,000 for his role in the excessive markups.
According to Thomas Gira, FINRA Executive Vice President and Head of Market Regulation, "Oppenheimer charged customers unfair prices in numerous municipal securities transactions and failed to properly supervise municipal securities transactions with its customers." In the course of FINRA 's investigation, it found that Oppenheimer, through David Sirianni, unfairly priced 89 municipal securities transactions, 54 of which had markups exceeding 9.4%! Sirianni, himself, was allegedly responsible for determining these prices in the 89 transactions. FINRA alleged that Oppenheimer did not have the necessary supervisory practices and procedures in place to detect the unfair prices charged to its customers.
Of course, Oppenheimer and Mr. Sirianni did not admit nor deny the charges but nevertheless consented to the entry of FINRA's findings. But this is not the first time that Oppenheimer has been sanctioned by FINRA. There are over 66 regulatory events and 173 customer arbitration complaints reported against Oppenheimer. Make sure you investigate the firm and it's representative thoroughly before you transact any business with any broker-dealer.
Broker-dealers must establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system to protect customers from broker misconduct. If broker-dealers do not establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to investors for damages flowing from the misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses stemming from excessive markups and/or other fraudulent activity by their broker can bring forth claims to recover damages against broker-dealers like Oppenheimer, which should consistently oversee its employees' activities in order to prevent the above-described prohibited conduct.
The most important of investors' rights is the right to be informed! This Investors' Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida. Please see our Instablog profile (left column) for ways to contact us and get answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.