John Hancock has settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission on charges that it failed to disclose revenue-sharing agreements. The firm, which neither admitted nor denied the allegations, is paying $21.2 million.

The SEC said it used brokerage commissions to pay marketing expenses for mutual funds and variable annuities sold by affiliated distributors between 2001 and 2004.

“In calculating the amount of brokerage commissions used to reduce revenue-sharing payments, in some instances, broker/dealers used a formula that required John Hancock to spend a higher amount in brokerage commissions than it would have paid in cash,” the SEC said. “John Hancock Advisers never disclosed to the retail mutual fund boards this use of fund assets,” thereby failing its fiduciary duty.

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