NASD Dissed Again

Posters on Internet message boards typically use an ID, or alias, to remain anonymous.  But brokers registered with NASD and those associated with them may not post promotional material anonymously.  They must disclose their affiliation in any such message posted on Internet discussion boards.

Asensio was censured and fined [480 KB] in 2000 for violating the rule.  Within a year, messages favorable to him started appearing anonymously under the alias Dgandll.   The messages appeared on the boards of four stocks under attack by Asensio.   Suspicions that his firm was violating rules again were confirmed when a message invited readers to "email us" at asensio.com for a report.  

All told, Dgandll posted a few dozen messages before complaints to NASD put an end to anonymous posts under that alias.

However, it wasn't long before a new alias promoting Asensio's work appeared.   Bigbull712002 rarely joined the discussion.  He would simply post a link to the latest commentary on Asensio's website--or an excerpt from it.

Was he merely an admirer of Asensio calling attention to his work?  Or another Asensio & Company alias violating NASD rules yet again?

Observers had good reason to suspect the latter.  It was Bigbull's remarkable ability to post new material from Asensio the night before its release

For months readers could only guess how Bigbull was able to do this. But the mystery ended on December 19, 2002, when Bigbull posted a message announcing a new Asensio commentary on a Yahoo message board.   For the first time since being noticed eight months earlier, he included these words:


THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN POSTED
BY ASENSIO & COMPANY, INC.

Bigbull712002 had come clean.  And in the process, revealed that Asensio & Company was the source of more than a dozen posts, made without the disclosure required by NASD, between April and November 2002.  This, of course, after Asensio had promised NASD that this violation its rules would not happen again.

Page Created 12/20/02 Updated 2/11/04 Updated 3/12/04