FINRA fines Merrill Lynch $5.5 million for improper IPO share sale

(Reuters) – A U.S. financial regulator on Thursday fined security brokerage Merrill Lynch, a unit of Bank of America, $5.5 million for improperly selling shares in initial public offerings (IPOs) to industry insiders.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) said Merrill Lynch will also have to pay up $490,530 it earned as revenue from shares sold to employees’ immediate family members and customers who were brokers at other brokerage firms.

Among the IPO shares unethically sold to industry insiders were highly sought-after stocks such as Facebook, General Motors, LinkedIn Corp., and Twitter Inc.

Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru

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