Oppenheimer's head muni bond trader suspended

David Sirianni was fined $100,000 and suspended for 60 days by Finra for overcharging customers.

Dec 9, 2013 @ 10:47 am

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Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. head municipal bond trader David Sirianni has been fined $100,000 and suspended for 60 days by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. for overcharging customers.

Mr. Sirianni marked up bonds as much as 16% from July 2008 through June 2009, Finra said in a statement Monday. Oppenheimer also was ordered to pay a $675,000 fine and $246,000 in restitution, according to the regulator.

“Finra has no tolerance for firms or individuals who charge customers excessive markups,” Thomas Gira, Finra's head of market regulation, said in the statement.

The investigation involved 89 transactions in which the brokerage added more than 5% to the cost of the bonds, Finra said. Oppenheimer didn't disclose the markups to its customers, according to the regulator. The firm's supervisory system didn't flag the trades for review because it looks at same-day markups and in these cases, the bonds were held at least overnight, Finra said.

Mr. Sirianni declined to comment when reached by phone. Dennis McNamara, a lawyer for Oppenheimer, didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

In one instance cited by the regulator, Oppenheimer bought Dowling College revenue bonds for 52.35 cents on the dollar on Dec. 9, 2008, and then sold them the next day for 14% more. On Dec. 11, Oppenheimer bought more securities of the college for 52.85 cents and 52.5 cents, which it flipped at a 13% markup.

(Bloomberg News)

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