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Rating:Ex-Fido Traders Shell Out More Than $1 Million Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, December 12, 2008

Ex-Fido Traders Shell Out More Than $1 Million

by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The 10 alleged ex-Fidelity dwarf-tossers just settled with the SEC for a combined total of more than $1 million. In the Friday Wall Street Journal "Fund Track, Kerry Grace reports (the Boston Globe and Bloomberg also both cover the story) on yesterday's settlement between the regulator and Scott DeSano, Timothy Burnieika, David Donovan, Edward Driscoll, Jeffrey Harris, Christopher Horan, Steven Pascucci and Kirk Smith over allegedly accepting improper gifts, including the infamous dwarf-tossing party. But this time, unlike in Fidelity's own settlement with the SEC back in March (see MFWire, March 5, 2008), star ex-manager Peter Lynch is not mentioned in the settlement.

Company Press Release

Washington, D.C., Dec. 11, 2008 Ė The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settlements of an enforcement action against eight former employees of Fidelity Investmentsí equity trading desk, who will collectively pay more than $1 million to settle SEC charges for improperly receiving travel, entertainment, and gifts paid for by outside brokers courting business from Fidelity.

The Commission instituted administrative proceedings on March 5, 2008, against 10 former Fidelity employees, including former vice president and head of the trading desk, Scott E. DeSano. The SECís orders issued today find that DeSano and former Fidelity equity traders Timothy J. Burnieika, David K. Donovan, Edward S. Driscoll, Jeffrey D. Harris, Christopher J. Horan, Steven P. Pascucci and Kirk C. Smith violated the federal securities laws by accepting prohibited compensation from brokers including among them private jet trips, lodging and premium sports tickets. In addition, the Commission also found that DeSano was a cause of Fidelityís failures to seek best execution for its clients and to disclose conflicts of interest to its clients, and that DeSano failed to supervise the 10 traders.

"By accepting improper gifts from brokers, these individuals squandered the most important commodity in the financial services industry Ė investor trust," said George Curtis, the SECís Deputy Director of Enforcement.

"Employees of money managers must keep the clientsí interests paramount and avoid putting their personal interests at odds with those of the investors they serve," said David Bergers, Regional Director of the SECís Boston Regional Office.

The SECís order against DeSano found that he violated Section 17(e)(1) of the Investment Company Act, was a cause of Fidelityís violations of Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act, and failed to supervise 10 traders, who violated Section 17(e)(1) of the Investment Company Act. The order bars DeSano from associating with an investment adviser or investment company for one year; orders him to pay $106,000 in disgorgement, $36,475 in prejudgment interest, and a $125,000 penalty; and orders him to cease and desist from committing or causing any further violations. DeSano consented to the order without admitting or denying the findings.

The Commissionís orders against Burnieika, Donovan, Driscoll, Harris, Horan, Pascucci and Smith find that they violated Section 17(e)(1) of the Investment Company Act, and that Driscoll was also a cause of Fidelityís violations of Section 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act. The SECís orders impose censures as to each of these respondents, and order that they cease and desist from further violations. Burnieika, Donovan, Driscoll, Harris, Horan, Pascucci and Smith also settled the charges without admitting or denying the Commissionís findings, and will pay disgorgement, prejudgment interest and penalties in the following amounts:

  • Burnieika: disgorgement = $39,000, prejudgment interest = $13,420.00, penalty = $30,000

  • Donovan: d = $120,816, pr = $42,921.51 and pe = $45,000

  • Driscoll: d = $39,000, pr = $13,549.33 and pe = $30,000

  • Harris: d = $45,000, pr = $15,986.64 and pe = $30,000

  • Horan: d = $63,000, pr = $21,678.86 and pe = $30,000

  • Pascucci: d = $44,339, pr = $15,256.81 and pe = $30,000

  • Smith: d= $56,690, pr = $19,506.89 and pe = $30,000

    The SEC acknowledges the assistance and cooperation of FINRA. 

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