Fifteen brokerages settled with the SEC and NASD for $21.5 million for not providing customers with $86 million worth of breakpoint discounts they were owed. The deal, struck earlier this month, also requires the firms to repay investors what they are owed.

The SEC studied breakpoint discounts last year and found that almost a third of the firms offering them were not following through. What ensued were an action against, and now a settlement with, the 15 firms, including Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

In statements, many of the companies called the non-refunds mistakes, rather than any form of corruption, but all were apologetic. The settlement stipulates that firms involved must offer the discounts by March 31.

The other 12 firms that settled were Legg Mason, Wachovia, UBS, American Express Financial, Linsco/Private Ledger Corp., H.D. Vest Investment Securities, Cresap Inc., SWS, Kirkpatrick Pettis Smith Polian, Southwest Securities, David Lerner Associates and Brecek Young Advisors.

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