According to Reuters, between October 2015 and April 2018, Goldman mislabelled over 60 million short sale orders totalling more than 14 billion shares as “long” sales, with nearly eight million of those orders totalling more than a billion shares being executed.
Highlighted by FINRA, the mismarked orders were caused by the failure to modify a single line of computer code during an upgrade to the automated trading system that Goldman used to improve its order flow.
Because they were classified inaccurately as “long,” FINRA reported that 12,335 completed orders were executed at or below the best displayed price available when a short sale circuit breaker was in action.
Short sale circuit breakers prevent the execution or display of a short sale for less than or equal to the current national best bid in that security.
The orders, which made up less than 1% of Goldman’s overall principle sell orders over the course of the time, were generated automatically to cover Goldman’s Synthetic Product Group’s exposure to synthetic risk arising from the execution of stock swap transactions with clients, FINRA said.
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The mismarked orders also prompted Goldman to submit inaccurate transaction reports to FINRA while maintaining incorrect books and records.
FINRA stated, Goldman also failed to build and maintain a supervisory structure reasonably tailored to ensure compliance with SHO and trade reporting laws.
Goldman agreed to and accepted FINRA’s conclusions without admitting or rejecting them.