Suit Says Fleet Undervalued Execs' Stock

NEW YORK - FleetBoston Financial Corp. was sued Friday by four former U.S. executives of National Westminster Bank PLC who claim the former Fleet Financial Group undervalued stock they held after it bought Natwest's U.S. branch system in 1996.The suit, which seeks class-action status on behalf of about 300 former Natwest officials, claims that units of "phantom stock" awarded by Natwest as incentive pay were valued at $37 each by FleetBoston after the takeover. The shares were actually worth $108.67 under terms of Natwest's incentive plan, the suit alleges.

The suit does not say how much of the stock was held by the officials at the time of the acquisition. Harold Levison, an attorney for the plaintiffs, declined to comment.

FleetBoston officials were not immediately available to comment.

-Bloomberg News


2 Proposals Would Restrict Day Traders

NEW YORK - The New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. on Friday proposed higher margin requirements for day traders in an ongoing effort to curb abuses and protect investors.If approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, amendments to NYSE Rule 431 and NASD Rule 2520 would require "customers who engage in a pattern of day trading" to maintain margin accounts of at least $25,000, compared with a $2,000 requirement for other customers.

The amendments would also restrict day traders from trading in excess of their buying power and limit them to day trading on a cash-available basis if the special margin call is not met within five business days.

The agencies would also prohibit day traders from using account guarantees and would restrict withdrawal of money deposited to meet minimum equity and maintenance margin requirements for two business days.

- Cheryl Winokur

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