Merrill Lynch and BACNAH Fined by SEC for Failing to File Hundreds of Suspicious Activity Reports

Merrill Lynch and BACNAH Fined by SEC for Failing to File Hundreds of Suspicious Activity Reports

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and its parent company BAC North America Holding Co. (BACNAH) with failing to file hundreds of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) from 2009 to late 2019. In a parallel action, Merrill Lynch was also fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). According to the SEC’s order, BACNAH had responsibility for creating and implementing Merrill Lynch’s SAR policies and procedures, including filing requirements, but failed to do so properly. In particular, they used a $25,000 threshold instead of the required $5,000 threshold for reporting suspicious transactions or attempted transactions. As a result, hundreds of mandated SARs were not filed. Merrill Lynch and BACNAH have agreed to stop committing and causing further violations of the law, and Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay a total of $6 million in civil penalty. The SEC appreciates the assistance of FINRA in its investigation.