Interactive Brokers LLC paying $38M for BSA/AML failures
The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued an order against INTERACTIVE BROKERS LLC for the payment of a $11.5 million penalty to settle charges it repeatedly failed to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) for U.S. microcap securities trades it executed on behalf of its customers. In parallel actions, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) today announced settlements with Interactive Brokers related to anti-money laundering failures in which the registered broker-dealer agreed to pay penalties of $15 million and $11.5 million, respectively, for a total of $38 million in penalties paid to the three agencies.
According to the SEC’s order, over a one-year period, Interactive Brokers failed to file more than 150 SARs to flag potential manipulation of microcap securities in its customers’ account, some of the trading accounting for a significant portion of the daily volume in certain of the microcap issuers. The order finds that Interactive Brokers failed to recognize red flags concerning these transactions, failed to properly investigate suspicious activity as required by its written supervisory procedures, and failed to file SARs in a timely fashion even when suspicious transactions were flagged by compliance personnel.
Without admitting or denying the SEC’s findings, Interactive Brokers agreed to be censured, to cease and desist, and to pay an $11.5 million penalty. In its settlements with FINRA and the CFTC, Interactive Brokers agreed to retain an independent compliance consultant and to disgorge certain profits in addition to the penalties assessed by those agencies.