In December, 2015 Laidlaw & Company was charged with violating financial regulations in their dealings with Relmada Therapeutics, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company. Laidlaw was charged with releasing false and misleading information about Relmada, which damaged shareholder value. Laidlaw had served as the primary investment banker for the company’s prior offerings and other investment banking services. Laidlaw was in effect, trying to manipulate the company’s share price in order to take control of the company.
Laidlaw has a long history of acting inappropriately, violating securities laws and financial regulations. Laidlaw formerly operated as Sands Brothers International. They were incorporated in England, but operate primarily in New York. For the two years between 2007 and 2009, the received more than 60 customer complaints and claims that they damaged the value of their clients. They were also sanctioned by FINRA for not reporting the complaints.
Laidlaw was charged with failing to establish and follow procedures for compliance with anti-money laundering and email retention. They created inaccurate communications records with clients, and failed to implement adequate supervisory controls within the company. The two principals, Matthew Eitner and James Ahern have a poor history of looking after their client’s best interests. They do not seem to have gotten a handle on the fact that the securities industry is based on following a set of rigid regulations and rules, which applies to them as well.