B/D chief compliance officers can now register for the inaugural CCOutreach BD National Seminar organized by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The seminar, designed to further promote strong compliance practices for the protection of investors, will be held on March 7, 2008 at the SEC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Attendance is limited to 500, with CCOs given priority on a first-come, first-served basis. The seminar will include panel discussions with SEC and FINRA staff and CCO representatives from both large and small broker/dealers about the latest compliance developments relevant to CCOs. More information is at www.sec.gov/info/bdccoutreach.htm and www.finra.org/bdccoutreach

Merrill Lynch & Co. agreed to pay the city of Springfield, Massachusetts $13.9 million to settle a dispute over collateralized debt obligations it sold the city that plunged in value. Merrill said it agreed to refund the money after discovering the purchase was allegedly made without the city’s consent….

FINRA elected the following individuals to fill the five regional vacancies on the Small Firm Advisory Board (SFAB) beginning April 1, 2008. They are: Howard Spindel, financial and operations principal of A.J. Pace Co., Inc.; Daniel Roberts, president, CEO, and CCO of Roberts Ryan Investment Inc.; John Moloney, president and CEO of Moloney Securities Co., Inc.; John Fitzgerald, director legal and compliance of Leerink Swann LLC; and Carolyn May, CCO and advisory director of Simmons First Investment Group, Inc…

Banc One Securities Corporation (BOSC) of Chicago was fined $225,000 by FINRA for “making unsuitable sales of deferred variable annuities to 23 customers and for having inadequate systems and procedures governing annuity exchanges.” In addition to the fine, FINRA is requiring the firm to allow each of the 23 customers to sell their variable annuities without penalty. Ordinarily, these variable annuities would have been subject to a six-year “surrender period” during which time the customers would have been required to pay surrender charges as high as 7% of the amount invested if they were sold in the first two years. The firm will also pay restitution of about $6,500 to two customers who incurred surrender charges when exchanging annuities. In 2006, BOSC merged with J.P. Morgan Securities, Inc…