BTIG marked more than 90 sale orders from a hedge fund customer as “long” and “short exempt”

https://www.investmentnews.com/sec-charges-btig-with-short-selling-violations-206718

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged BTIG, a New York-based institutional trading and investment banking firm, with repeated violations of the agency’s short-selling rules.

According to the SEC’s complaint, from December 2016 through July 2017, BTIG marked more than 90 sale orders from a hedge fund customer as “long” and “short exempt” when the orders should have been marked as “short.” According to the complaint, as a registered broker-dealer, BTIG had independent gatekeeper responsibilities to ensure that the trades it executed were correctly marked.

The SEC alleges that BTIG ignored facts indicating that the hedge fund’s representations that it owned the securities it was selling and that it would deliver them by the settlement date were false. Despite many red flags, the SEC said that BTIG allegedly continued to mark the hedge fund’s orders as “long” and “short exempt” without making an effort to determine whether those markings were correct.

In addition, the SEC alleges that because BTIG failed to borrow or locate the shares before doing the transactions, which were in reality short sales, the firm violated another short-selling rule.

The agency is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest and undisclosed civil penalties.

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