Boots Asensio's Brokerage
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Asensio Charged Again
The summary lists five charges related to Asensio's research reports. NASD alleges that the reports:
There is an additional charge. It is that Asensio "failed to respond
to NASD requests for documents and information."
This is not only a potentially serious charge, but one that couldn't be more ironic for
the man who for so long has billed himself as Wall Street's greatest
fraud-buster. You have to wonder on what basis he considered himself
exempt when asked for documents and information relevant to the
cleanliness of his own house.
What kind of penalty is Asensio facing here? Obviously, these charges are going to cost him money. NASD policy calls for escalating fines when a member is a repeat offender, and Asensio certainly fits the description. But the real question is whether these charges will mean not just fines for Asensio but adverse action against his broker-dealer license.
NASD's compliance manual provides for anything from a fine to suspension or expulsion when a member fails to cooperate with an investigation. However, the association has cut him so much slack on certain matters over the years that we'd be surprised if it expelled his firm over his lack of cooperation. Especially when you consider that the very nature of the charges suggests that NASD has once again honed in on some wrist-slap issues and ignored the most pressing ones.
That's what strikes us as the real story here. The simple fact is that Asensio
may have made millions of dollars with a license obtained with answers on
a sworn document that were, to use his
favorite term, highly questionable. So what
has NASD done? Worked itself into a lather over issues such as his failure to adequately define
his terms and include a graph in his research reports. Granted, those
are violations. But given the questions surrounding his license (not to mention
certain conduct he's engaged in over the years), it is mystifying
can bother with such details while ignoring the
Surely NASD ought to care a lot more about these questions than whether Asensio's research reports could earn a passing grade in Finance 101.
Are NASD's priorities as bizarre as they seem? Or is there a method to its madness? Check with us again at the end of April. We hope to have more on this truly strange saga by then.
Whether action can still be taken against the broker-dealer license is unclear. The reason is that Asensio may no longer hold it. As explained elsewhere, the District 10 office of NASD dealt with a complaint that Asensio fraudulently obtained the license by allowing it to be transferred to two new owners. One is an offshore trust. The other appears to be a relative or close friend.
We cannot determine who owns the trust. But if NASD knows Asensio to be among the owners, we would expect that the license could still be an issue. If Asensio is not an owner, then the point is moot--even though, unofficially, he may still be running the brokerage firm.
NASD by-laws prohibit it from continuing the membership of anyone who has made a false statement of a material fact on a membership application. Anyone care to place odds on the likelihood that Integral's membership will be continued? And that NASD brass will continue to insist that their enforcement is tough, even-handed, and marked by high principles of commercial honor?
hearing panel of NASD has ruled on the charges. See
Asensio Barred from Industry for details.
Page created 4/04/04 ● Updated 3/10/05 ● Updated 3/20/05