Edward Jones, the big St. Louis County stock brokerage, is paying a $75 million fine and will take corrective steps to avoid federal criminal charges, because it took payments from mutual fund companies that it recommended its customers buy into. That’s a record fine for mutual fund-revenue sharing cases. The deal with the Justice Department will let some customers who have bought into those “preferred” funds change their selection of mutual funds without charge, will require the company to change corporate procedures to avoid conflicts of interest, and will require the company to cooperate fully with federal investigators. The Attorney General of California calls the settlement inadequate and has filed a lawsuit against Jones. The Attorney General of New York continues investigating Jones’ actions. Several class action lawsuits are pending.
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