JPMorgan Hit with FINRA Ban
The hits keep coming for JPMorgan.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced Thursday that it barred David Michael Gutman, a vice president in the conflicts office of J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, and Christopher John Tyndall, a former registered rep at Meyers Associates L.P., from the securities industry, for their roles in an insider trading scheme that included payment processor First Data.
FINRA says that the two were longtime close friends who grew up together on Long Island. FINRA’s investigation found that Gutman improperly shared material, nonpublic information with Tyndall during conversations that took place between March 2006 and October 2007 regarding at least 15 pending corporate merger and acquisition transactions.
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“Tyndall then used the information to trade ahead of at least six of the corporate announcements using personal and family accounts over nearly a two-year period, and also recommended the stocks to his customers and friends,” FINRA says. Also in connection with its investigation, FINRA barred a third broker, Joseph Critelli — also a friend of Tyndall and a registered rep at Westrock Advisors Inc. at the time — in January 2013 for failing to appear for testimony related to his trading activity in this scheme.
Gutman learned about the pending merger transactions through his work in J.P. Morgan’s conflicts office, which reviews all investment banking transactions for potential conflicts of interest for the firm.
“Gutman had the keys to the kingdom through his position at J.P. Morgan as a gatekeeper with special access to material, nonpublic information,” said Cameron Funkhouser, executive vice president of FINRA’s Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence. “Gutman secretly gave inside information to his longtime friend, Christopher Tyndall, who exploited it for personal gain and passed it on to others. This case demonstrates that attempts to conceal illicit activity may delay but will not deter FINRA from ultimately uncovering the truth.”
According to FINRA, the inside information that Gutman improperly shared with Tyndall included details surrounding the acquisitions of American Power Conversion Corp. announced on Oct. 30, 2006; Genesis HealthCare Corp. announced on Jan. 16, 2007; First Data Corp. announced on April 2, 2007; SLM Corp. (Sallie Mae) announced on April 13, 2007; Alliance Data Systems Corp. announced on May 17, 2007; and Cytyc Corp., announced on May 20, 2007.
In concluding these settlements, Gutman and Tyndall neither admitted nor denied the charges. Gutman consented to the entry of FINRA’s findings that he violated NASD Rule 2110 in failing to comply with his obligation to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade. Tyndall consented to the entry of FINRA’s findings that he violated NASD Rules 2110 and 2120, and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder for his role in the scheme.