More Firings And Disclosures In Mutual Funds Probe

The Wall Street Journal reports that Bear Stearns 'quietly' fired four brokers and two assistants last week. The staff are the latest casualties of the ongoing probes into industry mutual funds trading activities.

The brokers are said to have been suspended without pay on October 24th and terminated on 12th November. Other staff at Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Prudential and Smith Barney (part of Citigroup) have been let go since the probes commenced.

In a related story, Reuters reports that Charles Schwab has now confirmed that an internal investigation has thrown up 18 examples to date of 'late trading'. The company is said to have sent an e-mail to employees on Sunday confirming the situation and CEO David Pottruck also said that the investigation had uncovered 'market timing' arrangements with five client relationships. These relationships were, however, severed before the investigation began.

The firm also revealed that two 'junior' employees had violated the company's 'ethics policy' by deleting e-mails, related to market timing issues, during the course of the internal investigation. These employees have also been fired and the e-mails restored using back-up technology.

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