Merrill Lynch Exec Settles With SEC in Customer Cash Row

Law360
September 5, 2017

Jordan A. Thomas on “cautionary tale” for financial institutions

The former head of regulatory reporting at Merrill Lynch, William Tirrell, has reached a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that comes with no penalty but will require him to cease and desist from future securities law violations, ending allegations of his involvement in wrongdoing that led to a $415 million fine for the bank last year.

Tirrell’s settlement comes after the SEC initiated administrative proceedings against him on the same day that the settlement with Merrill Lynch was announced. Though this settlement resulted in no monetary fine, according to the SEC order, “Tirrell caused Merrill Lynch to reduce the amount reserved by billions of dollars as a result of the trades…He did so while failing to respond to questions from regulators about changes being made to the trades of which he and others at ML gave approval. In addition, Tirrell should have known the purpose of the trades was to finance firm inventory and should have conveyed that purpose to regulators. In so doing, Tirrell was negligent.”

According to Jordan A. Thomas, Chair of Labaton Sucharow’s Whistleblower Representation Practice who represented the whistleblower executives, “This case will serve as a cautionary tale for other financial institutions about how quickly little mistakes, breakdowns in judgment, and old-fashioned greed can snowball into expensive front-page scandals.”