According to the SEC order, Merrill Lynch falsely informed customers that it had executed millions of orders internally when it actually had routed them for execution at other broker-dealers, including proprietary trading firms and wholesale market makers.  Merrill Lynch called this practice “masking,” which entailed reprogramming Merrill Lynch’s systems to falsely report execution venues, altering records and reports, and providing misleading responses to customer inquiries. By masking the broker-dealers who had executed customers’ orders, Merrill Lynch made itself appear to be a more active trading center and reduced access fees it...

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