An agreement between Merrill Lynch & Co. and Lazard Freres & Co. to split fees from swap transactions also contained a provision that put Lazard, an investment banking and financial advisory firm, on retainer for Merrill Lynch.

The retainer agreement, confirmed by officials at both companies, reportedly paid Mark S. Ferber, formerly of Lazard, and his staff $1 million a year between 1990 and 1992 to help Merrill market swap transactions to issuers. Company officials declined to confirm details of how much money was involved.

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