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SEC probes stock surveillance companies - WSJ

08 December 2004  |  4366 views  |  0 cash in hand

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has subpoenaed a number of firms that provide share purchase and sale data to discover whether their employees have tried to bribe back office staff at banks for confidential stockholder data.

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) the stock surveillance firms subpoenaed include Thomson Financial, Ilios Partners, the Georgeson Shareholder Communications division of Australia's Computershare and Miller Tabak & Co which operates a unit called Strategic Stock Surveillance.

Canada-based Thomson Financial admitted last month that it had received a subpoena from the US watchdog for documents relating to the operations of its Capital Markets Intelligence Service divison.

The SEC is looking into firms that may have paid gratuities to back-office staff at custodian banks for shareholder data that could potentially be used for illegal insider trading.

WSJ says already one internal company probe has discovered that a back office clerk at CIBC Mellon Global Securities Services gave out secret data on stockholdings for tickets to sporting events and cash payments of $50 to $100, while another internal investigation revealed that four staff at Mellon Financial disclosed similar information for baseball tickets, $50 American Express gift certificates and boxes of steaks.

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