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Wedbush Securities Faces SEC Claims of Market-Access Violations

Wedbush Securities Inc., the Los Angeles-based brokerage consistently ranked among the top firms by Nasdaq trading volume, was accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of violating market-access regulations.

Wedbush, by failing to maintain control over settings in its trading platforms, permitted market access to overseas traders without ensuring they complied with U.S. law, the SEC said today in a statement announcing an administrative case against the firm and two executives.

“We will hold Wedbush accountable for reaping substantial profits while failing to protect U.S. markets from the risks posed by these traders,” Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in the statement.

Jeffrey Bell, the former executive vice president in charge of Wedbush’s market-access business, and Christina Fillhart, a senior vice president in the market-access division, were responsible for the firm’s violations, the SEC said. The violations began in July 2011 and continued into 2013, the agency said.

A spokesman for Wedbush didn’t immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail seeking comment. Lawyers for Bell and Fillhart didn’t immediately respond to phone messages seeking.

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