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Fund Times: T. Rowe Manager Brian Rogers to Lead Firm

Plus, news on Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Oppenheimer, Vanguard, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 03/17/2006

T. Rowe Price announced Thursday that T. Rowe Price Equity-Income PRFDX manager Brian Rogers will replace George Roche as chairman when Roche retires in late 2006. However, Rogers will also continue in his roles as chief investment officer and manager of the hugely successful large-value offering. He has run the fund since 1985.

James Kennedy, director of equities at T. Rowe Price, will become president and CEO of the firm upon Roche's retirement. Roche will leave T. Rowe Price after a 38-year career that included responsibilities as manager of T. Rowe Price New Era PRNEX (1979-1997), chief financial officer (1984-1997), and, since 1997, chairman and president.

Bear Stearns Settles Charges with SEC

Bear Stearns will pay $250 million to settle late-trading and market-timing charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Thursday. The violations took place from 1999 to September 2003.

"For years, Bear Stearns helped favored hedge fund customers evade the systems and rules designed to protect long-term mutual fund investors from the harm of market-timing and late trading. As a result, market-timers profited while long-term investors lost," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, the SEC's enforcement division director.

In addition to the fine, the SEC is requiring the firm to improve compliance policy. This will include working with an independent compliance consultant who will review the firm's policies and procedures. The SEC's formal administrative proceeding document can be found here.

Merrill's Call Center Lands It in Hot Water

The NASD fined Merrill Lynch $5 million for failing to supervise its call centers. The NASD fined the firm for "supervisory failures, registration violations, impermissible sales contests, and other violations" in their operations located in Hopewell, N.J. and Jacksonville, Fla., according to a NASD press release. As part of the action, Merrill is prohibited from sales contests at these centers for three years and must hire, at its expense, an independent consultant to correct these policies to ensure that violations do not happen again.

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