Merrill Lynch fined $2.8M by FINRA for systemic reporting violations
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced that it has fined Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith Inc. $2.8M for systemic trade reporting, Order Audit Trail System reporting, books and records, and related supervisory violations that occurred over a period of several years. FINRA found that a system configuration error caused Merrill Lynch to, among other things, inaccurately report millions of trades to a FINRA Trade Reporting Facility in which purchases were reported as principal sales and agency crosses. Merrill Lynch also reported millions of trades it was not required to report. In addition, over the course of almost five years, the firm encountered a number of separate system errors that caused it to report millions of inaccurate reportable order events to OATS, including inaccurate timestamps, broker-dealer orders reported as customer orders and a failure to report millions of execution reports. Moreover, FINRA found that, for approximately three years, Merrill Lynch failed to record certain special handling instructions, as well as the correct receipt and route timestamps on order tickets, which caused millions of records to be inaccurate. FINRA also found that the scope of Merrill Lynch's supervisory system with respect to, among other things, trade reporting, OATS reporting, and books and records, was not reasonably designed. In concluding this settlement, Merrill Lynch neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to the entry of FINRA's findings.