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Opinion
Jonathan Weil

Telling Merrill Lynch to Obey the Law Doesn't Work

The SEC had told Merrill Lynch several times before that it wasn't allowed to break the law again. That doesn't seem to have been effective.

There was something oddly familiar about the settlement disclosed yesterday between Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch unit and the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC had told Merrill several times before that it wasn't allowed to break the law again. That doesn't seem to have been effective.

Merrill agreed to pay $131.8 million to resolve the SEC's claims that itmisled investors in some collateralized debt obligations back in 2006 and 2007. Per the usual custom, Merrill neither admitted nor denied the allegations.