Thursday, December 13, 2007
FINRA today announced that it fined J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc. $500,000 for failing to disclose to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) that it had used consultants to obtain numerous municipal securities offerings and had made payments to consultants connected to particular offerings. FINRA is responsible for enforcing MSRB rules. J.P. Morgan inaccurately stated in its filings with the MSRB that no municipal securities business had been obtained by its consultants and that it had made no payments to consultants connected with particular transactions. In fact, FINRA found, during the period from January 2002 through June 2004, J.P. Morgan used 16 different consultants to obtain at least 70 separate underwritings and paid at least $750,000 to six consultants connected to particular transactions.
During the time period at issue in this case, MSRB Rule G-38 required firms to disclose in quarterly filings with the MSRB any municipal securities business obtained or retained by a consultant. The rule also required firms to disclose payments made to consultants connected to particular municipal securities offerings. The rule is intended to address potential abuses in connection with the awarding of municipal securities business. It was revised in August 2005 to prohibit payments to any person not affiliated with a firm to solicit municipal securities business on behalf of the firm.
In settling this matter, J.P. Morgan neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.