The Securities and Exchange Commission has instituted administrative and cease-and-desist proceedings against 20 former New York Stock Exchange specialists on charges of securities fraud and other improper trading practices.

According to regulators, between 1999 and mid-2003, the traders pervasively executed proprietary orders for their firms ahead of the orders of public customers or agencies placed through the NYSE's electronic system. The SEC has come to a $20 million settlement with the Big Board for its oversight in policing the alleged wrongdoing.

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