|Friday, December 5, 2003
Nancy A. Condon
NASD Charges Former U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Representative with Sales Practice Violations and Failure to Cooperate in Investigation
Washington, DC – NASD today announced an enforcement action against Thomas J. O'Neill, a former U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray registered representative in its Butte, MT, office, charging various sales practice violations in connection with unsuitable and excessive trading in numerous customer accounts and the improper use of discretion in those accounts.
According to the complaint, O'Neill exercised improper discretion in connection with hundreds of transactions in customers' accounts over a four-year period. These transactions, NASD charged, were excessive in frequency and resulted in customers being put in over concentrations of volatile high-risk stocks.
NASD rules require that a broker must have reasonable grounds for believing that his recommendations are suitable for a customer based upon his knowledge of the customer's financial situation and needs.
O'Neill refused to cooperate with the NASD investigation, which commenced in April 2001 at the time of his termination from Piper Jaffray. As a result, O'Neill was also charged with failing to appear for investigative testimony before NASD. The expected testimony was to cover a number of issues relating to his communications, recommendations and interactions with specific Piper Jaffray customers. NASD's investigation of supervision issues is continuing.
Under NASD rules, an individual named in a complaint can file a response and request a hearing before an NASD disciplinary panel. Possible sanctions include a fine, order to pay restitution, censure, suspension, or bar from the securities industry.
NASD is the leading private-sector provider of financial regulatory services, dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. NASD touches virtually every aspect of the securities business - from registering and educating all industry participants, to examining securities firms, enforcing both NASD rules and the federal securities laws, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and member firms. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.nasd.com.