Wealth & Risk Management Blog

William Byrnes (Texas A&M) tax & compliance articles

Posts Tagged ‘Merrill Lynch’

The Pitfalls of Transitioning Between Firms

Posted by William Byrnes on August 26, 2011


If you’re considering transitioning your book of business to a new firm, maintaining the confidentiality of client information should be your principle concern. Accomplishing  a move without becoming the target of a lawsuit can be a daunting task. However, there is a protocol of best practices that if followed correctly can significantly lower the risk of violating confidentiality.

In 2004, three wirehouses – Citigroup Global Markets, Inc. (“Smith Barney”), Merrill Lynch, and USB Financial Services, Inc. – created the Protocol for Broker Recruiting (the “Protocol”). The Protocol’s objective is to protect clients’ privacy and flexibility when choosing Registered Representatives (“RRs”) – especially RRs who are switching firms. By reducing litigation over RRs transitioning to new firms, the high costs associated with competitive recruiting efforts can be minimized and client information can remain protected.

Read this complete analysis of the impact at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber)

For previous coverage of broker-dealer issues in Advisor’s Journal, see  Is a Hybrid Practice Model Right for You? (CC 11-46), What’s Driving the Increasing Appeal of the RIA Model? (CC 11-69).

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Merrill Lynch Busted by SEC for Tailgating Client Trades

Posted by William Byrnes on March 16, 2011


Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay a $10 million penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle charges that Merrill used information about customer trades to trade on its own behalf—in violation of its customers’ confidences.

According to the SEC, Merrill Lynch operated a proprietary trading desk—its “Equity Strategy Desk” (ESD)—from 2003 to 2005. The desk traded solely on the firm’s account and did not have any responsibility for customer orders.

The SEC says that, although Merrill represented to customers that their trading information would be kept on a need-to-know basis, the ESD had access to and used institutional customers’ information when executing trades on Merrill’s behalf.

The activity that resulted in the SEC investigation is known as “tailgating”—related to the illegal act of “front running.” Front running is the practice of executing proprietary trades using information about pending customer trades to the broker’s advantage. Tailgating is similar to front running, except that the broker executes its own trade after executing the related customer trades.

Read the full analysis at AdvisorFX – sign up for a no obligation free subscription to all the services including AUS, ASRS, the Journal, Presentation Aids, Soft Skills. amongst others.

 

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