FCC Flash

On July 11, 2023, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, and its parent company BAC North America Holding Co. (BACNAH) were fined USD 12 million by the SEC and FINRA for Anti-Money Laundering Failures spanning from 2009 to late 2019.

Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay a USD 6 million penalty to settle charges brought by both the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The charges stem from the company’s negligence in establishing and implementing policies, procedures, and internal controls that would reasonably ensure the reporting of suspicious transactions as required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Over a period of more than 10 years, Merrill Lynch failed to file nearly 1,500 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

During this same ten-year period, BACNAH incorrectly utilized a $25,000 threshold instead of the mandated $5,000 threshold for reporting suspicious transactions or attempted transactions involving individuals suspected of utilizing Merrill Lynch for illicit purposes and who could not be identified.