Morgan Keegan & Co’s Regions Financial May Face SEC Charges Over Improper Auction-Rate Securities Sales

Regions Financial Corp, a Morgan Keegan & Co brokerage unit, says the US Securities and Exchange Commission may file a civil proceeding against it over charges that the firm allegedly engaged in the improper sale of auction-rate securities. The regulator filed a “Wells Notice” against Morgan Keegan in March. The notice means that a civil proceeding could be next. It also gives Morgan Keegan the opportunity to prepare a defense.

The SEC is examining the degree to which Morgan Keegan revealed to its clients the risks associated with investing in the auction-rate market and whether the firm sold a huge amount of that debt even when its ability to support the auction had declined.

Morgan Keegan is purchasing back the ARS it sold to clients. According to Morgan Keegan spokesperson Kathy Ridley, the investment firm has already gotten back $28 million in ARS.

Our securities fraud lawyers at Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP are working with numerous clients on claims against Morgan Keegan and Regions Financial over failed auction-rate securities investments, as well as investor claims involving these Morgan Keegan Bond Funds:

• RMK Strategic Income Fund (RSF)

• RMK Advantage Income Fund (RMA)

• RMK Multi-Sector-High Income Fund (RHY)

• RMK High Income Fund (RHM)

• RMK Select High Income Funds: C (RHICX), I (RHIIX), and A (MKHIX)

• RMK Select Intermediate Bond Funds: A (MKIBX), C (RIBCX), I (RIBIX)

The collapse of the $330 billion auction-rate securities market left many investors unable to sell auction-rate debt that they were told were safe to invest in and that were the liquid equivalent of cash. Since then, many investors have come forward complaining that they were misled about the risks tied to investing in the market.

Regions Financial unit may face SEC charges, Reuters, May 11, 2009
Regions Financial says Morgan Keegan unit received ‘Wells notice’, The Birmingham News, May 12, 2009
Please contact the stockbroker fraud law firm of Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP for your free consultation.