In July 2014, Blackrock Capital LLC submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was censured, fined $50,000 and required to comply with undertakings and revise the firm’s Written Supervisory Procedures. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that it charged its customers $60.50 on separate purchase or sale transactions in addition to or in place of a designated commission charge.
The findings stated that the firm characterized the charge on customer trade confirmations as “miscellaneous” and/or as an “additional fee.” A substantial portion of the $60.50 charge was not attributable to any specific cost or expense the firm incurred or performed in executing each transaction, or determined by any formula applicable to all customers. A substantial portion of the charge represented a source of additional transaction-based remuneration or revenue to the firm, and was effectively a minimum commission charge. By designating the charge on trade confirmations as “miscellaneous” and/or as an “additional fee” in addition to or in place of a designated commission charge, the firm mischaracterized and understated the amount of the total commissions the firm charged.