In a first, the Securities and Exchange Commission has leveled a fine to enforce its rules covering "soft dollars" - credits or rebates a broker gives an investment adviser for steering business its way.

A unit of Republic New York Corp. and its president were accused of inappropriately using $84,000 of soft dollars for their personal expenses and overhead.

The unit, Republic NY Securities, was fined $50,000. It did not admit or deny the finding. A spokesman said Republic is putting the episode behind it, pointing out that the case goes back to 1994 and 1995. "We have been out of the soft dollar business since 1997," the spokesman said.

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