Updated Saturday, July 12, 2014 as of 2:59 PM ET
Practice - Regulatory/Compliance
Oppenheimer’s Sirianni Suspended for Muni-Bond Price Gouging
by: Zeke Faux
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Partner Insights

(Bloomberg) -- David Sirianni, Oppenheimer Holdings' head municipal bond trader, was fined $100,000 and suspended for 60 days by the FINRA for overcharging customers.

Sirianni marked up bonds as much as 16% from July 2008 through June 2009, FINRA said today in a statement. New York-based Oppenheimer also was ordered to pay a $675,000 fine and $246,000 in restitution. The brokerage and the trader settled the case without admitting to the allegations, Wall Street’s self-regulator said in the statement.

“FINRA has no tolerance for firms or individuals who charge customers excessive markups,” Thomas Gira, Finra’s head of market regulation, said in the statement.

The investigation involved 89 transactions in which the brokerage added more than 5% to the cost of the bonds, FINRA said. Oppenheimer didn’t disclose the markups to its customers, according to the regulator. The firm’s supervisory system didn’t flag the trades for review because it looks at same-day markups and in these cases the bonds were held at least overnight, Finra said.

Oppenheimer altered its procedures to make sure that customers get fair prices on municipal bonds, according to Mary Beth Kissane, a spokeswoman for the firm at WalekPeppercomm. FINRA’s claims involve a small number of trades, she said.

Sirianni declined to comment when reached by phone.

In one instance cited by the regulator, Oppenheimer bought Dowling College revenue bonds for 52.35 cents on the dollar on Dec. 9, 2008, and then sold them the next day for 14% more. On Dec. 11,Oppenheimer bought more securities of the Oakdale, New York-based college for 52.85 cents and 52.5 cents, which it flipped at a 13% markup.

Oppenheimer’s stock fell 0.8% today to $23.28.

Get access to this article and thousands more...

All Financial Planning articles are archived after 7 days. REGISTER NOW for unlimited access to all recently archived articles, as well as thousands of searchable stories. Registered Members also gain access to exclusive industry white paper downloads, web seminars, blog discussions, the iPad App, CE Exams, and conference discounts. Qualified members may also choose to receive our free monthly magazine and any of our daily or weekly e-newsletters covering the latest breaking news, opinions from industry leaders, developing trends and growth strategies.

Already Registered?

FP50 2014: Fastest-Growing IBDs

Current Issue

The July Issue is now online!


Industry Events

August 10, 2014 |

September 9, 2014 |

September 17, 2014 |

Already a subscriber? Log in here