Broker-dealers charged billions of dollars in excessive markups and markdowns on municipal bond trades from 2005 to 2013, according to a study by the Fairfax, Va.-based Securities Litigation and Consulting Group, Inc.

The SLCG, which provides consulting services and expert witnesses to law firms, companies, banks, brokerage firms, and individuals involved in class-action suits and other litigation, used the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board definitions of markups and markdowns for its study. The MSRB defines markups as the difference between the prices charged to the customer and the prevailing market price. Markdowns are the difference between prices paid the customer and the prevailing market price.

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