The SEC issued a Wells notice to NYSE specialist firms LaBranche & Co., Van der Moolen Specialists and Fleet Specialist for alleged trading violations, according to the three firms. The notice indicates the SEC is considering filing civil charges against the firms but allows them to present their positions to the agency. The NYSE is also considering disciplinary actions against the three firms for allegedly breaking both federal securities laws and exchange rules.
LaBranche, Van der Moolen and Fleet are three of five firms being investigated by the SEC and the NYSE for alleged interpositioning, or stepping in between natural buyers and sellers to capture a profit. The other firms under investigation are Bear Wagner Specialists and Spear, Leeds & Kellogg Specialists. There are seven specialist firms on the NYSE.
Officials from Bear Wagner were not available to comment on whether the firm had received a Wells notice. Ed Canaday, a spokesman for Spear, Leeds parent Goldman Sachs, said the firm does not comment on investigations.