The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said it suspended an Illinois broker for 16 months for manipulating trades using spoofing and other tactics.
Robert T. Bunda, of Frankfort, Illinois, is suspended for 16 months. He also has been fined $175,000 and required to pay restitution of $171,740 for engaging in manipulative trading activity.
This included a practice called spoofing, where small limit orders are placed at prices that improve the National Best Bid or Offer (NBBO) for a security. This, the independent regulator of brokers said, allows the trader “to take advantage of the improved prices by executing larger orders at another firm that offers execution guarantees at the national best bid or offer price.
Once the larger order is executed at the artificially inflated price, the trader cancels the initial limit orders, FINRA said.
The broker attempted to conceal his improper trading activity through 11 undisclosed outside brokerage accounts, FINRA also said.
FINRA found that Bunda entered over 4,000 small share orders through a trading account at Great Point Capital, his employer, to improve the NBBO for a Nasdaq security.
After the market moved, Bunda entered a significantly larger order on the opposite side of the market for his undisclosed personal brokerage account. After receiving that execution, Bunda cancelled a majority of the market moving orders he had entered through his Great Point account.
Bunda engaged in a repeated pattern of spoofing to move the market for his own personal gain. In total, Bunda bought and sold shares in his undisclosed personal brokerage account in more than 400 instances for a gain of $171,740.
"Bunda's conduct was designed to artificially move the market for his own personal gain and demonstrates an unsuccessful attempt to conceal improper trading activity through non-disclosure of outside brokerage accounts," Thomas Gira, Executive Vice President, FINRA Market Regulation, said.
In settling this matter, Bunda neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings. The spoofing activity described above was referred to FINRA by NASDAQ's MarketWatch Department.