Merrill Lynch agreed Wednesday to pay $728,260 in civil penalties for allowing unregistered client associates to sell securities in states where they were not permitted to do business, said New Jersey’s Attorney General Paula Dow. Client associates served as sales assistants to one or more financial advisors.

Previously, Merrill Lynch was under a multi-state investigation, which started in 2008 and triggered the administrative consent order between New Jersey and the financial firm. The order states that the investigation revealed that from Jan. 1, 2004 through the present, Merrill Lynch allegedly had client associates who conducted sales of securities in states without being properly registered. The order further says that the New Jersey Bureau of Securities found that Merrill Lynch did not adequately supervise client associates and enforce its own established written procedures.

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