The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined Merrill Lynch $2.8 million for overcharging customers with fees and for failing to provide timely trade confirmations. The financial regulatory agency fined Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith after it found the broker overcharged nearly 95,000 customer accounts with fees totaling more than $32 million from April 2003 to December 2011. Brad Bennett, the regulator’s chief of enforcement, said in a release:
Investors must be able to trust that the fees charged by their securities firm are, in fact, correct. When this is not the case, investor confidence is threatened.
The agency said Merrill Lynch has since returned the overcharges, with interest, to affected customers. FINRA also found that Merrill Lynch failed to send customers trade confirmations for more than 10.6 million trades in over 230,000 customer accounts from July 2006 to November 2010. Merrill Lynch is a division of Bank of America Corp. In a statement, the firm blamed the problems on operational issues primarily due to improper coding of accounts. It said they have improved their systems to address these issues and that affected clients were reimbursed. On other occasions, Merrill Lynch also failed to deliver certain proxy and voting materials, margin risk disclosure statements, and business continuity plans, according to FINRA.
Source: The Huffington Post
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