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December 18, 2013

Telling Merrill Lynch to Obey the Law Doesn't Work

There was something oddly familiar about the settlement disclosed yesterday between Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC had told Merrill several times before that it wasn’t allowed to break the law again. That doesn’t seem to have been effective.

Merrill agreed to pay $131.8 million to resolve the SEC’s claims that it misled investors in some collateralized debt obligations back in 2006 and 2007. Per the usual custom, Merrill neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

Here’s what caught my eye in the settlement papers, and please forgive the technical language, which I’ll explain in a bit. The SEC ordered Merrill to “cease and desist from committing or causing any violations and any future violations of Sections 17(a)(2) and 17(a)(3) of the Securities Act and Section 17(a)(1) of the Exchange Act and Rule 17a-3(a)(2) thereunder.”

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Read full Bloomberg article here

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