is the latest investment bank to pay up for its bubble-era excesses.
The NASD fined Piper Jaffray $2.4 million for "spinning," an illicit practice in which the firm allegedly dolled out shares in hot initial public offerings to 22 corporate executives the firm was seeking business from. The fine represents the profits the executives made from flipping, or quickly trading the shares.
Regulators have been cracking down on investment banks for spinning for the past several years. Two summers ago,
past strategy of doling out shares in hot IPOs to telecom executives drew fire from both regulators and congressional investigators looking into the collapse of
"Spinning contributes to the public's perception that the IPO market is rigged in favor of company insiders who receive highly profitable IPO shares as a payoff for lucrative investment banking business," says NASD Vice Chairman Mary Schapiro.
The NASD did not identify by name the corporate executives who received shares from Piper Jaffray. But the order issued by regulators identified the top executives of
, an ailing wireless technology company, as past recipients. Piper Jaffray acted as co-manager of GoAmerica's IPO, earning over $1.1 million in fees.
Piper Jaffray, in settling with the NASD, neither admitted nor denied the allegations.