The Australian Securities and Investments Commission said Wilsons had been given an infringement notice by the markets disciplinary panel after a review of what is known as Trade with Price Improvement.
Investopedia defines TPI as achieving a trade at a better price than the price quoted at the time an order was placed. It would mean finding a higher bid price if you are selling an asset, or a lower ask price if you are buying an asset. While many brokers tout their ability to get price improvement for their customers’ orders, price improvement is always an opportunity and never a guarantee.
ASIC said it raised concerns with Wilsons that a significant number of transactions reported by Wilsons as TWPI from March 1, 2022, to March 21, 2022, did not appear to offer price improvement.
Wilsons responded to ASIC on April 8, 2022, stating that it did not have a specific post-trade alert in place to identify this issue and that consequently, the issue had gone undetected.
The markets disciplinary panel found that Wilsons had executed 2306 trades “away from an order book” and reported those trades TWPI in circumstances where it was not permitted to do so.
The panel said Wilsons’ conduct was serious and at the high end of careless rather than reckless or intentional.
“Wilsons was not aware of the issue, which had gone undetected for over two years until ASIC bought it to WIlsons’ attention,” the regulator said.
“The panel considered that the fact that the conduct went undetected for over two years was an aggravating factor.”
However, it also had a generally sound compliance culture and took action when it was made aware and co-operated with ASIC.