Settlement Could Cost Wall Street $15bn

The Sunday Times reports that the final bill for the settlement of the Wall Street probe into stock research practices could cost securities firms as much as $15bn.

New York state attorney general Eliot Spitzer is keeping on the pressure. He has now told lawyers representing 10 of the largest brokerage firms that he would 'dig through e-mails for the next five years' if necessary to uncover evidence of wrongdoing. But he would rather have the matter resolved quickly - on his terms, which are likely to be pretty severe. And even after the settlement, firms face the prospect of further civil litigation.

In the meantime, Citigroup has now revealed plans to split its research and retail brokerage division from investment banking. It has hired Sallie Krawcheck from independent research firm Sanford Bernstein to run the new division. Citigroup boss, Sandy Weill, said: 'This structure will help assure that all equity research at Citigroup will be independent of corporate and investment banking. This organisational change is a giant step forward'.

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