On April 16,2013, FINRA announced resolution of an action against Merrill Lynch for failing to provide best execution in certain customer transactions involfing non-convertible preferred securities executed on one of its proprietary order management systems, the ML BondMarket. In addition FINRA found that Merrill did not have an adequate supervisory system in place.
Merrill was fined $1.05 million and ordered to pay restitution to customers who did not receive best execution on their bond trades of more than $323,000. Firms are required to use reasonable diligence to ensure that the trade is as favorable as possible to the customer under current market conditions. FINRA alleged that Merrill executed 12,259 transactions at prices inferior to the National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO).
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.