Oppenheimer Holdings indicated in an SEC filing yesterday that NASD is set to recommend action against its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert G. Lowenthal for failures related to breakpoints.
The company is said to have filed inadequate breakpoint information in a March 2003 NASD survey on breakpoints that the regulatory body sent industry-wide to 2,000 brokerages, well ahead of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's fund-trading probe. Oppenheimer Holdings, whose roots date to 1881, most recently was known as Fahnstock Viner Holdings.
The significance of NASD's pending charges against Lowenthal, industry insiders say, is that regulators have not dropped the ball on breakpoints--and are now holding top executives responsible.
Shareholder advocate and FundDemocracy.com founder Mercer Bullard tells The Wall Street Journal: "They wouldn't threaten to bring action unless they believe there was some knowing disregard by the CEO."