US regulator charges 11 Wall Street firms with record-keeping failures

US regulator charges 11 Wall Street firms with record-keeping failures

Companies admit to wrongdoing, agree to pay $289 million in penalties

By Ovunc Kutlu

ISTANBUL (AA) - The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged 11 companies on Wall Street with widespread record-keeping failures.

The charges related to longstanding failures by the firms and their employees to maintain and preserve electronic communications, the SEC said Tuesday in a statement.

The companies accepted their conduct and agreed to pay $289 million in penalties, and have begun implementing improvements to their compliance policies to address the violations, it added.

Some of the companies include Wells Fargo Securities, which agreed to pay a $125 million penalty, and BNP Paribas Securities Corp that will pay $35 million.

The market watchdog said its investigation uncovered "pervasive and longstanding off-channel communications" at all 11 firms.

"Compliance with the books and records requirements of the federal securities laws is essential to investor protection and well-functioning markets," said Gurbir S. Grewal, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

Deputy Director of Enforcement Sanjay Wadhwa said record-keeping failures undermine the SEC's ability to exercise effective regulatory oversight, often at the expense of investors.

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