Stifel Financial Corp. Says 95% of Clients Agree to Auction-Rate Securities Buyback Plan

According to Stifel Financial Corp., 95% of its clients with frozen auction-rate securities have indicated that they will accept its offer to buy back the investments over a three-year period. Missouri Securities Regulator and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, however, continues to maintain that the buyback plan is inadequate.

She also disagrees with the broker-dealer’s claim that customers are endorsing the buyback plan by accepting it. Rather, she believes that it is the only option that Stifel has given clients that will allow them to get all of their funds back-and that means that many of them will have to wait three years. Carnahan noted that over 20 other broker-dealers were able to give their clients immediate relief.

Some 1,200 Stifel clients bought ARS before the market collapsed. The firm’s clients currently hold about $170 million in ARS. Some 40% of eligible accounts reportedly were to have received 100% liquidity by June 30. The remaining accounts are to obtain full liquidity by June 2012.

Stifel Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Ronald J. Kruszewski maintains that the broker-dealer did not know that the ARS market was in trouble until it collapsed. This is the main reason that Stifel has given for why it isn’t buying back their clients’ holdings in full the way other brokers have from their clients.

Carnahan’s office, however, alleges that Stifel was aware of the risks involved with investing in ARS and that the broker-dealer should have worked harder to protect investors. Her office sued Stifel in March 2009 over the way the firm marketed ARS and misled investors.

Related Web Resources:
Most Stifel clients accept auction rate securities buyback; Carnahan calls offer ‘inadequate’, St Louis Business Journal, June 23, 2009
Carnahan Sues Stifel Over Auction Rate Securities, iStockAnalyst, March 13, 2009
New Trouble in Auction-Rate Securities, The New York Times, February 15, 2008
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