is readying payments to fund investors of $11 million by the end of the year. The payments to as many as 20,000 customers are refunds of improperly charged sales commission on Class A shares of funds. Merrill charged the commissions in its role as broker-dealer, not as fund advisor.
The payment may be first of many to come from broker-dealers after a NASD study that found as many as 450 broker-dealers may have charged commissions on A shares incorrectly by failing to recognize breakpoints.
Merrill officials told the New York Times
that the reimbursements will be paid by December 20 and that the firm is "going beyond what was required of [it] by actually providing reimbursements in the next two and a half weeks."
Merrill said it failed to properly assess the commission in 70,000 trades because of flaws in its internal systems and that it does not believe it will face any charges for violating securities regulations or pay any penalties.
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