Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) of US has fined Merrill Lynch $500,000 for failing to provide sales charge discounts to customers on eligible purchases of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs).
FINRA also found that Merrill Lynch failed to have an adequate supervisory system in place to ensure customers received appropriate UIT discounts. The firm also agreed to provide remediation of more than $2m to affected customers.
As part of the settlement, Merrill Lynch will provide restitution to all customers who were overcharged when purchasing UITs through the firm, from January 2006 to the present.
Merrill Lynch settled the matter without admitting or denying the allegations, but consented to the entry of FINRA’s findings.
A UIT is a type of investment company that offers redeemable units, of a generally fixed portfolio of securities, that terminate on a specific date. UIT sponsors generally offer sales charge discounts to investors, known as breakpoint discounts and rollover and exchange discounts.