The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined Scottsdale, Ariz.-based First Financial Equity Corp. and New York-based Whitaker Securities LLC a total of $25,000 for municipal securities trade reporting violations.

FINRA announced the fines in its monthly disciplinary actions. The firms neither admitted nor denied the self-regulator's findings and their officials could not be reached for comment.

FINRA fined First Financial Equity $15,000 for failing to report municipal securities trades properly to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, in violation of its Rule G-14 on reports of purchases and sales.

The MSRB rule requires broker-dealers to report information from most municipal securities trades within 15 minutes of their execution. Firms must use special indicators for certain kinds of trades.

According to FINRA, from July 1 through Sept. 30, 2007, the firm failed to use a special indicator when claiming deadline extensions for trade reporting of 18 block trades.

The trades constituted 100% of all muni transactions with face amounts of more than $5 million that were executed during that period.

Then, from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2007, First Financial failed to use the special indicator for deadline extensions for 88, or 33%, the muni trades it executed during that period, FINRA said.

FINRA fined Whitaker Securities $10,000 for failing to report on a timely basis 207, or 14%, of its municipal securities trades from Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year.

The late trade reporting violated Rule G-14, the association said.

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