FINRA has permanently barred a former Deutsche Bank advisor for alleged market manipulation regarding stock for a hedge fund client.
FINRA alleges that Edward Brokaw, who worked in Deutsche Bank’s Securities office in Greenwich, Conn., engaged in a series of illegal activities that resulted in the fluctuation of the stock value price of Monogram Biosciences Inc. [MGRM] to suit the needs of a hedge fund client, his family and himself.
In a press release, the agency said that Brokaw’s alleged plot could have reaped millions of dollars for the hedge fund, but a Deutsche Bank [DB] review put to a stop to it.
In an official statement to On Wall Street, Deutsche Bank said, “[We] fully cooperated with FINRA’s investigation of this matter.” A company spokesperson added that there is no action against the bank.
Brokaw is planning to appeal, his lawyer said.
FINRA said the ex-broker’s hedge fund client owned $18.5 million in contingent value rights, or CVRs. Those are rights that are allocated to shareholders of an acquired company. Brokaw’s hedge fund client held about 30% of the 64.8 million Monogram’s CVRs outstanding. While every penny that the volume weighted average price (VWAP) dropped below $2.90, the value of the hedge fund’s CVRs increased by $185,000.
The FINRA complaint said that Brokaw wanted to sell orders as late as possible. “[Brokaw] placed large orders to sell MGRM shares within minutes of the open and close of the market over successive days,” according to the complaint.
Brokaw stated that the last minutes of trading were “designed to get the best price,” according to the FINRA complaint. Brokaw and his family held 217,000 CVRs and stood to receive a potential payout of $188,000, according to the complaint.
But the FINRA hearing panel didn’t find Brokaw’s explanation for the sales strategy to be credible. Instead, the panel concluded that Brokaw “placed the orders to artificially depress the price of MGRM to impact the pricing of CVRs.”
Brokaw’s lawyer, Kevin Hoffman, said in a phone interview: “We do believe there were mistakes in the factual finding and the legal conclusions are the basis of our appeal.” He added that the sanctions would be automatically halted while the appeals process is underway.
Bill Young, the former chief executive officer of Monogram, declined to comment.