Bank of America revises ethics code

NEW YORK: Bank of America Corp, the second largest US banking company, has revised its code of ethics after settling investigations into its mutual fund unit and buying FleetBoston Financial Corp, a securities filing shows. 

The changes include a ban on improper mutual fund trading, including market timing and “late trading” They also include the creation of a toll-free hotline operated by an independent third party to ensure anonymity for employees wishing to report concerns or complaints. 

The code, which employees must sign, also requires that staff who become the subject of external investigations tell their managers. 

“Bank of America Corporation is committed to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct,” the 16-page code said. 

These standards “require honesty and candour in our activities, including the observance of the spirit and the letter of the law”, according to the code. The changes were adopted on April 2. 

Bank of America still faces probes over trading and research-related activities involving its investment banking unit, and the role of its Italian unit in the collapse of Italian food company Parmalat. 

On March 15, the bank and Fleet agreed to pay US$515mil and give up US$160mil of fees to settle charges over improper mutual fund trading. – Reuters  

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