FINRA ordered Merrill Lynch to pay more than $7.2 million in restitution and interest to clients who paid unnecessary sales charges and excess fees in connection with mutual fund transactions.
“We enhanced our procedures in 2017 to ensure clients always receive the appropriate fee waivers and rebates related to mutual fund purchases,” Merrill said in an email. “We fully reimbursed affected clients a year ago.”
Merrill’s “insufficient supervisory systems and procedures” failed to ensure that those customers, who collectively held more than 13,000 accounts at the firm, received available sales charge waivers and fee rebates, according to the FINRA statement.
“The firm’s supervisory failures led to customers not receiving millions of dollars in sales charge and fee waivers on mutual fund purchases,” said Jessica Hopper, executive vice president and head of FINRA’s Department of Enforcement, in a statement.
She added that Merrill had reimbursed the affected clients and cooperated with FINRA’s investigation, including engaging an outside consulting firm to identify potentially wronged customers and calculate their total remediation.