The New York Stock Exchange announced Thursday it will seek fines of up to $150 million against five specialist firms for engaging in improper trading practices.

The disciplinary actions will allege that the floor-trading firms that match buy and sell orders failed to comply with fundamental auction market procedures and related securities regulations during a three-year period ended last Dec. 31. Essentially, they are accused of putting their own trades ahead of customer orders and stepping between customers whose trades should have been matched.

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