Citigroup agrees to pay $7m penalty over coding error

SEC Building

The Securities and Exchange Commission thas announced that Citigroup Global Markets has agreed to pay a $7m penalty and admit wrongdoing to settle charges that a computer coding error caused the firm to provide the agency with incomplete “blue sheet” information about trades it executed.

According to the SEC’s order instituting a settled administrative proceeding, the coding error occurred in the software that Citigroup used from May 1999 to April 2014 to process SEC requests for blue sheet data, including the time of trades, types of trades, volume traded, prices, and other customer identifying information. During that 15-year period, Citigroup consequently omitted 26,810 securities transactions from its responses to more than 2,300 blue sheet requests. After discovering the coding error, Citigroup failed to report the incident to the SEC or take any steps to produce the omitted data until nine months later.

“Broker-dealers have a core responsibility to promptly provide the SEC with accurate and complete trading data for us to analyze during enforcement investigations,” said Robert A. Cohen, Co-Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit. “Citigroup did not live up to that responsibility for an inexcusably long period of time, and it must pay the largest penalty to date for blue sheet violations.”

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