First Southwest Co. agreed to pay $150,000 to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that it engaged in undisclosed auction-rate securities practices that may have affected investors' returns.

First Southwest neither admitted nor denied the charges. But the firm's chief executive officer, Hill Feinberg, said in a statement that the firm is committed "to ensuring that our auction rate practices meet with the highest industry standards," citing those established by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

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