Feb. 12, 2004 — Securities regulators said 15 brokerage firms have agreed to pay more than $21.5 million to settle charges that they overcharged people who bought mutual funds through the firms.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Association of Securities Dealers said the firms failed to give discounts, known as breakpoint discounts, on sales charges on large share purchases.

The firms have agreed to compensate customers for the overcharges, which averaged $243 per transaction and ranged up to $10,000, regulators said. The brokerages will also pay fines and take other “corrective measures, the regulatory bodies said.

Seven firms settled jointly with the SEC and the NASD: Wachovia Securities LLC, UBS Financial Services Inc., American Express Financial Advisors Inc., Raymond James Financial Services Inc., Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc., Linsco/Private Ledger Corp., and H.D. Vest Investment Securities Inc.

The firms settling only with the NASD are Bear Stearns & Co. Inc., Lehman Brothers Inc., Cresap Inc., SWS Financial Services, Kirkpatrick Pettis Smith Polian Inc., Southwest Securities Inc., David Lerner Associates Inc., and Brecek & Young Advisors Inc.