Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. commercial bank, has begun offering free online stock trades for individual investors who deposit $25,000 or more at the bank. The free trading plan is effective immediately in the northeast U.S. and will become available nationwide by next spring. . .Mary Schapiro, who became NASD’s chairman and CEO September 1, wrote to members listing her priorities. Among these are revising the Sanctions Guidelines to clarify that a firm’s size and resources are considered when sanctions are imposed for misconduct, and establishing an Office of Member Relations, which will be responsible for maintaining open communication with member firms.
NASD fined New York’s Oppenheimer & Co. $800,000 for failure to respond to regulatory requests for information, failure to timely and accurately report thousands of municipal securities transactions, and failure to retain business-related internal e-mail. Oppenheimer is now also obligated to retain, at its own expense, outside counsel to review, modify, and enhance its supervisory procedures related to reporting municipal securities transactions and responding to regulatory requests for information.
BlackRock Inc. and Merrill Lynch Investment Management completed the merger of their investment management businesses. The new company has more than $1 trillion in assets under management and operates under the BlackRock name, with Laurence Fink as chairman and CEO.