Last week, Merrill Lynch was fined a total of $26 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alleging failures in reporting “suspicious” transactions, according to documentation obtained by Reuters. Allegedly, from 2010 until 2011, the bank failed to properly monitor brokerage accounts for illegal activity, and offered its brokerage clients traditional banking services, such as cash deposits at ATMs and wire transfers to offshore firms, without using screening software to highlight potentially illegal activity. The SEC fined Merrill Lynch $13 million and ordered the bank to cease and desist, alleging that, from 2011 until 2015, its anti-money laundering policies were insufficient to account for the additional risk from such banking services. FINRA is expected to announce and issue a $13 million fine in the next few days. A Miami court has ordered the bank to pay $25 million in a class action settlement related to failures to pass on sales charge waivers on mutual funds.
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