Merrill fined $1 million over conflicts of interest

NEW YORK - Merrill Lynch, now part of Bank of America, has been fined $1 million by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for violating securities law by failing to admit conflicts of interest in recommending its brokerage services to pensions consulting clients. The US regulator charged two Merrill Lynch employees - Michael Callaway and Jeffrey Swanson - with breaching fiduciary duty and making misleading statements about internal processes.

The regulators said Merrill consultants "could and often did receive significantly higher revenue" when clients were told to use Merrill's directed brokerage services.

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