Wachovia Securities, LLC and the Securities and Exchange Commission have reached a finalized settlement to resolve charges that the company mislead investors when selling billions of dollars worth of auction-rate securities. Under the terms of the agreement, Wachovia would purchase ARS from non-profit organizations, individuals, and clients with accounts worth up to $10 million. This phase ended on November 28, 2008 and Wachovia has bought back over $6.2 billion in ARS from clients as of that date.
During a second buyback phase running from June 10 – 30, 2009, Wachovia will repurchase ARS it sold to its other clients. Fulfillment of the terms of the settlement will give thousands of investors over $7 billion in liquidity.
The terms of Wachovia’s agreement with the SEC are similar to the ones it reached with the North American Securities Administrators Association and New York Attorney General Andrew M Cuomo’s office, which mandated that Wachovia pay a $50 million fine and buy back the ARS it sold to investors. Following completion of this latest settlement’s terms, the SEC will determine whether Wachovia needs to pay a fine. By agreeing to settle, Wachovia is not admitting to or denying wrongdoing.
The SEC, the North American Securities Administrators Association, and Cuomo have alleged that sales representatives purposely misled investors about ARS liquidity in 2008 (even though they knew as early as late 2007 that the ARS market was beginning to collapse) when they claimed the securities were equivalent in liquid to cash. The market fell on February 14, 2008 when Wachovia and other broker-dealers stopped supporting the auctions, causing segments of the ARS market to freeze and leaving thousands of clients without any means of recovering their funds.
Just recently, Cuomo’s office concluded its probe into Wachovia’s ARS activities and issued an Assurance of Discontinuance.
Related Web Resources:
SEC Finalizes ARS Settlement to Provide $7 Billion in Liquidity to Wachovia Investors, SEC.gov
Read the SEC Complaint
NY State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Office
Our securities fraud attorneys represent investors whose funds are frozen in ARS because they were misled by their brokerage firm. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP today.