Two more traders have left Fidelity Investments amid an ongoing investigation into whether its employees received lavish gifts and entertainment from brokers looking to secure a share of the fund company's massive trading business, according to the Boston Globe.
Fidelity reportedly confirmed that traders Marc Beran and Steve Falzone left the firm late last week but declined to comment on the reason for their departure. They are the second set of traders to leave the firm since the Securities and Exchange Commission began probing relationships between outside brokers and Fidelity traders regarding gift-giving activities.
Fidelity declined comment on whether it has taken additional disciplinary measures beyond those it disclosed last month, when it fined or sanctioned 14 traders and said that two others left as the result of an internal probe that showed violations of its gift policies, the Globe said.
Among those disciplined for their behavior was high-profile head trader Scott De Sano, who remains in his position. Last month, the company pledged to implement more stringent policies and procedures in light of the investigation.
The crux of the issue, according to the report, is whether the gift-giving, which included golf foursomes at upscale resorts, Super Bowl tickets and expensive wine and dinners, was indicative of the "boys club" mentality of traders or a pay-to play system that rewarded business to brokers who gave the best presents.
The SEC has subpoenaed a number of brokers and traders in the Boston financial community and has requested copies of Fidelity's entertainment budget and other records pertaining to gifts and gratuities.
The NASD prohibits brokers from giving gifts worth more than $100. Mutual funds are not bound by this rule, but many prohibit employees from accepting gifts that would influence fund transactions.