Merrill Lynch Pays $415M For Misusing Customer Cash

Law360, New York (June 23, 2016, 10:44 AM EDT) -- Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay $415 million and issue a rare acknowledgement of wrongdoing for misusing customer cash on options trades that allowed it to free up billions of dollars that should have been held in a reserve account, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday.

Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc. will pay $57 million in disgorgement and interest and a $358 million civil penalty while admitting to wrongdoing. The SEC alleged that the bank violated the SEC's Customer Protection Rule by engaging in complex options trades that artificially reduced the amount it needed to keep in...

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