The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said it fined Merrill Lynch $1 million for failing to arbitrate disputes with employees over retention bonuses that were tied to its 2009 merger with Bank of America.
The regulator said that following the merger, Merrill Lynch implemented a bonus program aimed at retaining high-producing brokers. But the program was designed by Merrill Lynch to force brokers to resolve any disputes over unpaid bonuses in court, ignoring FINRA's requirement that firms arbitrate such matters directly with employees.
In January 2009, Merrill Lynch paid $2.8 billion in retention bonuses that were structured as loans to more than 5,000 registered brokers. The firm agreed to pay the $1 million fine without admitting any wrongdoing, FINRA said. As the Senior Editor of Advanced Trading, Justin Grant plays a key role in steering the magazine's coverage of the latest issues affecting the buy-side trading community. Since joining Advanced Trading in 2010, Grant's news analysis has touched on everything from the latest ... View Full Bio