updated 7/25/2005 4:48:27 PM ET 2005-07-25T20:48:27

Fidelity Investments said Monday it has received a notice from federal securities regulators that they may bring a civil action against the company in an ongoing investigation of gift-related trading abuses.

The Boston-based mutual funds firm, which has been under investigation by the Securiuties and Exchange Commission since November, said in a statement that the agency's Boston office had told the company "that the staff is considering recommending that the commission bring a civil action against Fidelity Management & Research Co. and FMR Co.," Fidelity Investments' privately held corporate parents.

A phone message seeking comment from the SEC's Boston office was not immediately returned, and John Heine, a Washington-based SEC spokesman, declined to comment.

Fidelity said it has been cooperating with the SEC and other investigations involving conflicts of interest related to brokers' gifts to traders at Fidelity and other firms.

In addition to the SEC probe, Fidelity and rival companies face a gifts investigation by the National Association of Securities Dealers. And a federal grand jury recently began investigating whether some of Fidelity's traders were given gifts by Wall Street bank brokers in an effort to win Fidelity's trading business.

Fidelity began its own review amid the SEC's probe. No one has been charged with wrongdoing, but 16 Fidelity employees have been disciplined, and at least five traders have left the firm, which manages about $1.1 trillion in assets.

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