WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Merrill Lynch’s equity research arm has agreed to pay $8.9 million to settle charges that it failed to disclose its own conflict of interest in advising clients about third-party products, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Monday.
The unit — Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith — agreed to settle the charges “without admitting or denying the findings,” the SEC said in a statement. Merrill Lynch is a division of Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).
“We promptly enhanced our policies and procedures to ensure the confidentiality of recommendations in the future,” said bank spokesman William Halldin.
Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Jonathan Oatis