BofA, SEC Reach Records Retention Settlement

March 10, 2004 ( - The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reached a settlement with Bank of America Corp's securities arm in an alleged obstruction of an SEC investigation of trading activities at the firm's San Francisco office.

Per the terms of the agreement, Bank of America agreed to pay the SEC $10 million in reference to charges brought by the agency that the bank violated books and records retention laws by improperly storing documents relevant to an investigation and by not producing requested documents quickly enough.   In the settlement, Bank of American neither admits, nor denies, the allegations, according to an SEC news release.

The case deals with a November 2001 SEC inquiry into trading activities at the Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America’s securities division.   According to the SEC, the violations of recordkeeping and access requirements occurred during an SEC investigation that was trying to determine whether, among other things, the securities division engaged in improper trading of securities prior to the firm’s issuance of research concerning such securities.

“Today’s action makes clear that we will not tolerate unreasonable delay in responding to our inquiries and will act aggressively to protect the integrity of the Commission’s investigative processes,” Stephen Cutler, Director of the Commission’s Division of Enforcement said in the release.

Bank of America previously disclosed it was under investigation in January, disclosing that the firm had received a “Wells notice” from the SEC (See  Banc of America Securities Slapped With SEC “Wells Notice” ).   A copy of the settlement agreement is available at .