Three former employees of Invesco Funds Group Inc. agreed yesterday to pay fines and accept temporary bars from the mutual fund industry for their role in helping large investors engage in predatory short-term trading called market timing.

The settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission are another step in federal and state regulators' year-long effort to root out timing and other fund company abuses.

Former chief investment officer Timothy J. Miller, former national sales manager Thomas A. Kolbe, and Michael D. Legoski, a former assistant vice president of sales, will pay penalties of $150,000, $150,000 and $40,000 respectively. They neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing, as is customary in SEC settlements.

These deals may also clear the way for the SEC and New York Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer to settle their separate cases against Invesco and the firm's former president, Raymond Cunningham. Invesco's parent company, Amvescap PLC, has said it is trying to negotiate a settlement, and sources close to the talks said a resolution could come in the early fall.

An Amvescap spokesman declined to comment on the settlements, but Miller's attorney, James R. Doty, said in a statement that Miller had tried to stop market timing when he thought it was harmful. "Mr. Miller is pleased to have this matter come to a close. . . . If he let down the funds' investors or their boards, he deeply regrets that," he said.

-- Brooke A. Masters