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Thursday, January 29, 2004|
SEC Targets MFS CEO
In a new move to penalize individuals believed to have had knowledge of improper mutual fund trading at their companies, the SEC is mulling banning executives temporarily from the industry.
Starting with MFS’ chief executive officer John W. Ballen. As MFS moves closer to a $200 million settlement with the SEC on improper trading charges, the SEC is considering suspending Ballen and another MFS executive, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Howard Schiffman, a former SEC enforcement attorney told the WSJ that the agency usually seeks a suspension, known as a "time out" among securities lawyers in cases it considers especially serious. However, he added that while suspensions typically last for only a few months they still "send a stronger message," because even short bans are considered embarrassing to firms and executives.
Ballen’s reputation at MFS is a formidable one. He holds degrees from Harvard and Stanford and joined the firm’s research department in 1984 and quickly rose through the ranks to become a portfolio manager and, ultimately, the company's CEO in 2002.
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