Enforcement Actions
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
NOTE: Stipulations of Fact and Consent to Penalty (SFC); Offers of Settlement (OS); and Letters of Acceptance Waiver, and Consent (AWC) are entered into by Respondents without admitting or denying the allegations, but consent is given to the described sanctions & to the entry of findings. Additionally, for AWCs, if FINRA has reason to believe a violation has occurred and the member or associated person does not dispute the violation, FINRA may prepare and request that the member or associated person execute a letter accepting a finding of violation, consenting to the imposition of sanctions, and agreeing to waive such member's or associated person's right to a hearing before a hearing panel, and any right of appeal to the National Adjudicatory Council, the SEC, and the courts, or to otherwise challenge the validity of the letter, if the letter is accepted. The letter shall describe the act or practice engaged in or omitted, the rule, regulation, or statutory provision violated, and the sanction or sanctions to be imposed.
North American Clearing, Inc.

The Firm 

  • prepared and maintained inaccurate customer reserve formula computations and failed to make required deposits to its Special Reserve Account as required by the Securities Exchange Act, and failed to notify FINRA of its failure to make the deposits;
  • prepared and maintained an inaccurate net capital computation, trial balance and general ledger, and filed a materially inaccurate Financial and Operations Combined Uniform Single (FOCUS) report in which it overstated its net capital;
  • failed to conduct an accurate box count (in that there were certificates in the box for positions that were not on the firm’s stock record, and the amount of shares in the box did not match the firm’s stock record); 
  • failed to maintain an accurate securities position record, and did not take steps to obtain physical possession or control of securities failed-to-receive by initiating a buy-in procedure or otherwise in automated customer account transfers (ACATs) failures and customer-related fails; 
  • failed to liquidate, or timely liquidate, unpaid-for customer securities positions in cash accounts as required by Regulation T, and permitted customers to purchase securities in accounts that were frozen pursuant to Regulation T without having cash on deposit for the purchases, and failed to liquidate customer positions in a timely manner in customer margin accounts that fell below FINRA’s maintenance margin requirements;
  • permitted an individual to act as its operations manager and to perform functions requiring registration as a Financial and Operations Principal (FINOP) when she was not so registered, and also employed a chief compliance officer who was not registered with the firm as a general securities principal or registered in any capacity with the firm;
  • had not recently conducted an independent test of its anti-money laundering (AML) compliance program, failed to provide prompt notification to FINRA of the change of its AML compliance officer, failed to conduct ongoing AML training for appropriate personnel, and its AML compliance program was inadequate in that it failed to establish policies and procedures that could reasonably be expected to detect and cause the reporting of suspicious transactions;
  • failed to maintain all internal electronic correspondence on non-erasable, non-rewriteable media, and its supervisory system was deficient in that registered persons could delete emails at will, and its written procedures were deficient because they lacked details or explanation;
  • failed to maintain a continuing and current firm element continuing education program;
  • failed to establish and maintain a reasonable supervisory system for financial and credit risk management relating to its correspondent business;
  • failed to reasonably supervise its operations system conversion and its operations activities to detect and/or prevent violations including, but not limited to, inaccurate box counts, position records, buy-in procedures, Regulation T and NASD Rule 2520,maintenance of electronic correspondence and customer account transfers;
  • engaged in the practice of improperly liquidating customer money market fund positions and failing to sweep customer free credit balances into customer-designated money market funds or a bank deposit account to create cash flows to meet its daily settlement obligations;
  • failed to maintain and provide account documentation to FINRA for accounts liquidated to meet its daily settlement requirements, and failed to comply with FINRA’s Uniform Practice Code in that it validated account transactions and transfers late; and
  • failed to report to FINRA, for itself or for any of its correspondent firms, daily INSITE information regarding the number and type of transactions conducted each day, the dollar value of the transactions, the net liquidating equity in proprietary trading accounts, the dollar amount of unsecured customer debits, information about margin debits, and calls in customer accounts and short interest information.
North American Clearing, Inc.: Expelled
Bill Singer's Comment
On May 27, 2008, the SEC's ex parte motion for emergency relief was granted and a temporary restraining order was entered against the defendants and freezing North American Clearing's assets. The SEC requested the relief when it filed a complaint on May 27, 2008 against North American Clearing, its founder and director Richard L. Goble (at the time, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Board member), its president Bruce B. Blatman, and its former financial and operations principal Timothy J. Ward, charging them with fraud and other securities laws violations. The SEC's complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in illegal activities, including the misuse of customer funds, in order to hide North American Clearing's financial problems and to pay for its daily business operations. http://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/2008/comp20602.pdf
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