Merrill Lynch to pay millions to state, former governor

Associated Press
Published: 12/8/2020 4:36:40 PM

Merrill Lynch agreed to pay $2 million in fines to the state and over $24 million in restitution to former Gov. Craig Benson following a broker’s unethical trading practices, according to a settlement announced Monday by the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities.

Merrill Lynch was cited for failing to supervise Charles Kenahan, who “traded without authorization, mismarked trade confirmations, excessively traded stocks and initial public offerings, overcharged commissions, and inappropriately traded” products, the bureau said in a news release.

Benson wasn’t identified in the settlement. Jeff Spill, the bureau’s deputy director, said Benson gave permission to be identified.

Kenahan was fired by Merrill Lynch in July 2019. A number for him wasn’t in service.

A company spokesperson said in a statement it has “enhanced our policies and monitoring systems over the last several years to more closely monitor certain types of client account activity.”

Benson complained to the bureau in January 2019, saying some of his accounts had sustained heavy losses at a time when the stock market was gaining. He alleged excessive and unsuitable trading. Benson filed a separate arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which was settled in coordination with the New Hampshire case.

Benson was governor from 2003-2005.

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