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Oppenheimer CEO Faces NASD Breakpoint Charges

Oppenheimer Holdings is bracing for the NASD to recommend action against its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Albert G. Lowenthal for breakpoint neglect.

NASD claims Oppenheimer filed inadequate breakpoint information in a March 2003 NASD industry-wide survey to 2,000 brokerages, well ahead of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's fund-trading probe, Oppenheimer indicated in an SEC filing last Tuesday. Oppenheimer Holdings, whose roots date to 1881, most recently was known as Fahnstock Viner Holdings.

The significance of NASD's pending charges against Lowenthal, industry insiders say, is that regulators have not dropped the ball on breakpoints - and are now holding top executives responsible.

Shareholder advocate and founder Mercer Bullard told The Wall Street Journal: "They wouldn't threaten to bring action unless they believe there was some knowing disregard by the CEO."

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