Weiss Asset Management, a Boston-based hedge fund manager, has agreed to pay approximately $6.9 million to settle SEC charges that it violated the federal securities laws when it unlawfully purchased stock in seven public offerings after selling short those same stocks.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged that between December 2020 and February 2021, Weiss violated violated Rule 105, which prohibits short selling an equity security during a restricted period (generally five business days before a covered public offering) and then purchasing the same security through the offering, absent an exception.
The rule applies regardless of the traders intent and promotes offering prices that are set by natural forces of supply and demand rather than potentially manipulative activity, the SEC said in a press release Tuesday.
According to the order, Weiss Asset Managements violations occurred because it repeatedly miscalculated the restricted period and dismissed several red flags raised by its internal controls that suggested possible rule violations.
Weiss has agreed to disgorge profits of $6,508,793 and to pay interest of $190,211 and a penalty of $200,000. The firm also agreed to cease and desist from violating Rule 105 in the future.