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01 Feb 10 SEC Charges 2 California Advisory Firms with Improper Short Sales

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Two California investment advisory firms were charged with improper procedures for short sales today by the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Palmyra Capital Advisors LLC, which lists $21.7 million in assets in its ADV disclosure form, profited in three of its managed hedge funds by violating short-selling rules, the SEC alleged. The regulator claimed it found that the firm made California short sales in 2008 in advance of a public offering by Capital One Financial Corp., resulting in improper profits of $225,500.

AGB Partners LLC, which lists $10 million in assets, and its principals, Gregory Bied and Andrew Goldberger, allegedly netted thousands of dollars by shorting in advance of their purchase of stock in a secondary offering, according to the SEC.  Both firms agreed to settle the SEC’s charges without admitting or denying its findings.

Palmyra Capital consented to be censured and pay more than $330,000 in disgorgement and penalties. AGB Partners, Mr. Bied and Mr. Goldberger consented to be censured and pay more than $50,000 in disgorgement and penalties.  An attorney for Palmyra could not be reached for comment. ABB Partners’ attorney, Hardy Callcott of Bingham McCutchen LLP, declined to comment.



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