Thursday, May 8, 2008
FINRA fined GunnAllen Financial, Inc., of Tampa, FL $750,000 for its role in a trade allocation scheme conducted by the firm's former head trader, as well as for various Anti-Money Laundering (AML), reporting, record-keeping and supervisory deficiencies. Kelley McMahon, the former head trader's supervisor, was suspended for six months from association with any FINRA-registered firm in any principal capacity and fined $25,000, jointly and severally with the firm. FINRA barred Alexis J. Rivera, the former head trader, in connection with the trade allocation scheme, in December 2006. FINRA found that in 2002 and 2003, the firm, acting through Rivera, engaged in a "cherry picking" scheme in which Rivera allocated profitable stock trades to his wife's personal account instead of to the accounts of firm customers. Rivera garnered improper profits of more than $270,000 through this misconduct.
In connection with the firm's investment banking business, FINRA found that prior to March 2005, GunnAllen never put any stock of a company on a restricted or watch list even though the firm was conducting investment banking business with these companies. During the same period, GunnAllen failed to inform its own compliance department of the investment banking activities in which the firm was involved. FINRA also sanctioned GunnAllen for failing to report to FINRA that its parent firm had entered into a consulting contract with an individual who had been previously barred by FINRA. In addition, the firm was sanctioned for failing to preserve e-mails and instant messages, for failing to implement an adequate AML compliance program and for supervisory and complaint reporting deficiencies. GunnAllen and McMahon settled these matters without admitting or denying the allegations, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings