SEC Says New York Broker Allowed High-Speed Stock Manipulation
A New York-based brokerage allowed overseas clients to operate a scheme to distort stock prices with tactics involving the rapid cancellation of orders, according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Clients of Hold Brothers On-Line Investment Services were “repeatedly manipulating publicly traded stocks” by placing and canceling orders in an illegal strategy designed to trick others into buying, according to an SEC press release. Hold Brothers and its owners agreed to settle allegations they failed to supervise their customers and pay $4 million in fines.
The SEC complaint targets practices associated with high- speed computer trading on American equity venues. While the overwhelming majority of those tactics have been deemed permissible by regulators, the agency has been looking out for instances where they cross the line into frauds known as “layering” or “spoofing,” according to the release.