Massachusetts Financial Services Co. is talking to the SEC, New Hampshire regulators and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer about a settlement including $200 million in restitution and penalties and another $100 million worth of reduced fees over the next several years, The New York Times reports today. The paper cites several sources close to the talks as its source of information.

The SEC is not interested in reduced fees, but Spitzer is pushing for it, according to the Times. If it reduced its fees, MFS, the nation’s oldest mutual fund company, will be the second firm to do so in the ongoing scandal. (See "Alliance Deal Sets Alarming Precedent: Spitzer Intent on Lowering Fund Fees," MME 12/22/03.)

Meanwhile, the story coming out of Boston is the complete reverse. Although they are almost certain that engaged in late trading, securities regulators will probably not file charges against MFS, The Boston Globe reports.

Citing interviews with attorneys and officials privy to the case, the paper reports that Boston’s third-largest fund company obviously allowed large investors to market time –

but evidence of the illegal, post-4 p.m. practice known as late trading is not strong enough to warrant a case.

MFS has already admitted to regulators that its shareholders have lost more than $100 million thanks to late trading in its funds by Security Brokerage, Inc. (see "MFS Ran $100 Million Late Trading Scam," MME 1/26/04). Security Brokerage is a Las Vegas-based firm that MFS maintains had specific orders not to trade after 4 p.m., but still did.

The SEC says that the brokerage, and specifically its owner Daniel Calugar, altered documents to make it look like after hours trade took place before 4 p.m.

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The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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