State Street Sued Over Allegations of Misrepresentation Related to Mortgage-Backed Securities

Massachusetts plumbing and air conditioning supply company F.W. Webb Company is suing State Street Bank and Trust Company, State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), and CitiStreet. F.W. Webb is accusing the defendants of misrepresenting a bond fund as a low risk 401k-investment option, when in fact, the SSgA Yield Plus Fund was invested in mortgage-based securities.

FW Webb says the investment option had been represented on more than one occasion as being similar to a money market portfolio but with better returns. FW Webb alleges that beginning in 1996, State Street changed its investment strategy for the Yield Plus account so that there was an emphasis on lower-quality securities that were accompanied by greater risks.

The lawsuit contends that the Yield Plus Fund create a level of risk that was inappropriate and not in line with the stated investment goals of the Massachusetts company’s 401K Plan or the objectives of a traditional money market fund. The complaint contends that the fund dropped dramatically in mid-2007 because of its overexposure to low-quality assets and securities that were high in risk.

CitiStreet, which has provided FW Webb with investment management and recordkeeping and administrative functions since 2000, is also a defendant in the suit. FW Webb say that any instability related to the Yield Plus Fund was never an issue that CitiStreet or State Street brought to its attention, which gave the plumbing and air conditioning supply company no reason to question whether the fund should be included in its 401K Plan.

The lawsuit also noted that the decision to move the Yield Plus Fund into mortgage-backed investments during 2005-2007 occurred during a time when defaults of the subprime mortgages had skyrocketed and subprime lenders were dealing with insolvency. The SSgA Yield Plus Fund’s Board of Directors decided to liquidate the fund as of May 31, 2008.

Related Web Resources:

F.W. Webb sues State Street and CitiStreet over alleged misrepresentation, PatriotLedger.com, August 20, 2008
FW Webb Company

State Street Corporation

CitiStreet

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