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According to FINRA, at various times since at least January 2006, Merrill Lynch did not waive the sales charges for affected customers when it offered Class A shares.
Mutual funds offer several classes of shares, each with different sales charges and fees.
The implementation of account-level sales charges is not required by the proposal.
However, fund managers would have to retain the ongoing asset-based sales charges that individual investors pay the highest fee charged by the fund for shares that have no ongoing sales charges.
The regulatory agencies have also attempted to give potential investors a clearer idea of what their charges will be by requiring a table that hypothetically estimates the dollar cost of all charges for all classes, including sales charges and fund expenses, with (and sometimes without) redemption, for a $1,000 investment earning a five percent hypothetical annual return over different time periods.
Without admitting or denying the findings, both firms consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that it disadvantaged certain retirement plan and charitable organization customers that were eligible to purchase Class A shares in certain mutual funds without a front-end sales charge.
The maximum up front sales charge for Fixed Income and Short-Term Bond Portfolios will be reduced to 4 percent from 5 percent
5% sales charges respectively, will now have no sales charge.
The emerging "sleeper" issue in mutual fund liability is the confusing and largely hidden way in which sales charges and fees are communicated.
Among recent enforcement actions by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority were the censure and fine of two firms for failing to appropriately discount sales charges of unit investment trusts.