Washington, D.C. — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today announced that a former registered representative, Abhishek Uppal, has been barred from the securities industry for engaging in insider trading earlier this year.
Uppal, of San Francisco, worked in the investment banking department of Piper Jaffray & Co. from 2007 to July 2009. He was barred for buying shares of SoftBrands, Inc. while it was in discussions with potential acquirers. Piper Jaffray was acting as a confidential advisor to SoftBrands in its dealings with possible buyers.
"FINRA devotes significant resources to surveilling the markets for possible insider trading activity because of the dangers it poses to the public's confidence in our securities markets," said Thomas Gira, Executive Vice President of FINRA's Market Regulation Department. "This action demonstrates our ability to detect insider trading and act quickly to sanction wrongdoers by removing them from the securities industry."
On June 4 and 5, 2009, Uppal purchased 27,161 shares of SoftBrands, paying $0.42 and $0.45 per share. On June 12, the company announced that it had agreed to be acquired by Golden Gate Capital and Infor Global Solutions for $0.92 per share, at a total transaction value of approximately $80 million.
That day, SoftBrands's stock price nearly doubled, rising from $0.47 to $0.89 per share on volume of 3.6 million shares. The next business day, June 15, 2009, Uppal sold all 27,161 shares of his SoftBrands stock, at $0.89 per share, realizing a profit of $11,955.
FINRA found that Uppal purchased shares of SoftBrands while in possession of material, non-public information about the company's pending acquisition. FINRA also found that Uppal used an undisclosed securities account that he maintained at another broker-dealer to conceal his trading in SoftBrands from his employer.
In settling this matter, Uppal neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.
Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record of, any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage firm by using FINRA's BrokerCheck. FINRA makes BrokerCheck available at no charge. In 2007, members of the public used this service to conduct 6.7 million reviews of broker or firm records. Investors can access BrokerCheck at www.finra.org/brokercheck or by calling (800) 289-9999.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through comprehensive regulation. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business — from registering and educating industry participants to examining securities firms; writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws; informing and educating the investing public; providing trade reporting and other industry utilities; and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms.
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