December 24, 2012

Stockbroker Fraud Headlines: Securities Claims Against Lehman Underwriters Are Dismissed, NYSE Euronext Works on Kill-Switches Plan, and SEC Calls for Structured Products Ratings Roundtable

Securities Claims Against Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Underwriters Are Dismissed
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has thrown out the California Corporations Code claims made against the underwriters of two offerings of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. debt securities per the precluding of the 1998 Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act. This, despite the fact that the securities case was brought by one plaintiff and lacks class action allegations.

The SLUSA’s enactment had occurred to shut a 1995 Private Securities litigation Reform Act loophole that let plaintiffs filing lawsuits in state courts circumvent the Act’s tougher securities fraud pleading requirements. It generally allows for federal preemption of state law class actions contending misrepresentations related to the buying or selling of a covered security. However, the court granted the motion to dismiss noting that even though the securities case was brought only on the State Compensation Insurance Fund’s behalf, it is still a covered class action within the act’s meaning.

NYSE Euronext Working on Kill-Switches Plan
According to NYSE Euronext (NYX) EVP and US equities head Joseph Mecane, the group is making headway with coming up with a concrete plan to implement kill switches that would shut trading should a technological error happen. The desire for such a tool comes in the wake of recent prominent trading errors that have demonstrated the technology flaws in the US equity markets.

NYSE Euronext, other SROs, buy-side firms, and brokerage firms have even formed an industry working group to tackle this matter. Speaking at a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing on computerized trading, Mecane said that among the details still being worked out are whether the kill switch should be implemented at the SRO level or clearing level. Another issue under discussion is about which parts of the process should be optional and/or obligatory.

SEC Recommends Structured Products Ratings Roundtable
According to a Commission study, the SEC should call a roundtable to look at three possible ways of dealing with issues related to structured finance products’ credit ratings, such compensation models, conflicts of interest, and other matters. The study was mandated by Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,

One possible approach would involve setting up a board that would create an “assignment system” for nationally recognized statistical rating organizations to provide ratings for these products. This would take issuers out of the NRSRO choice process, which could allow raters to feel not as pressured to conform with client preferences. A second route involves enhancing the 1934 Securities Exchange Act’s Rule 17g-5, which mandates that arranger-hired NRSRO’s figure out initial ratings for structured finance products so that certain measures can taken to make sure that other NRSROs rate the products. The third option involves looking at different alternative compensation models for credit raters.

IIn re Lehman Brothers Securities and ERISA Litigation, S.D.N.Y., 09 MD 2017 (LAK) (PDF)

Industry Group Nearing Concrete Plan On Kill Switches to Halt Erroneous Trades, Bloomberg BNA, December 19, 2012

Industry Group Nearing Concrete Plan On Kill Switches to Halt Erroneous Trades, Bloomberg BNA, December 19, 2012


More Blog Posts:
McGraw Hills, Moody’s, & Standard & Poor’s Can’t Be Held Liable by Ohio Pension Funds for Allegedly Flawed MBS Ratings, Affirms Sixth Circuit, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 20, 2012

Securities Law Roundup: Ex-Sentinel Management Group Execs Indicted Over Alleged $500M Fraud, Egan-Jones Rating Wants Court to Hear Bias Claim Against SEC, and Oppenheimer Funds Pays $35M Over Alleged Mutual Fund Misstatements, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 13, 2012

Alleged Cherry-Picking Scam Leads to SEC Charges Against California Hedge Fund Manager, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 19, 2012

October 19, 2011

Ex-Lehman Brothers Holdings Chief Executive Defends Request that Insurance Fund Pay Legal Bills

Once again, former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. executives want an insurance fund to cover their expenses stemming from securities-related misconduct they are accused of committing. This time, they want to use the money to cover their legal bills. On Monday, former Lehman Chief Executive Richard Fuld and other ex-executives submitted a filing in US Bankruptcy Court to responded to an objection made by the former owners of Maher Terminal Holdings Corp. objecting to this fund use.

Basil Maher and M. Brian Maher claim that the paperwork submitted by the former executives doesn’t support use of the insurance monies. The brothers have been in opposition with Lehman since the investment bank filed for bankruptcy in 2008. The Mahers contend that in 2007 when they wired $600 million for their sale of Maher Terminal Holdings Corp. to Lehman, the financial firm allegedly placed their money in investments that were riskier than what they had wanted. The Mahers are still trying to recoup their losses form Lehman.

The former Lehman executives want the court to give them access to a diminishing $250 million insurance fund. They say that not only would this prevent a protracted court battle with local governments that they’ve already settled with, but also, they don’t believe this will impact the investment bank’s creditors. The ex-executives had settled for $1.05 million a dispute with six California municipalities that had invested $35 million into Lehman in the two years before it failed. The municipalities later filed their securities case accusing Lehman of making misrepresentation and omissions in their offering documents, which is what the governments used as reference when making the decision to invest in the financial firm.

The former Lehman executives just recently made another request to use $90 million from the insurance fund to settle a securities lawsuit filed by Lehman shareholders. They also have asked the bankruptcy court for $8.25 million in insurance money to settle a securities case filed by the state of New Jersey.

Should the bankruptcy judge grant the ex-Lehman officials’ requests, then Fuld and the others won’t have to put out any out-of-pocket expenses for their alleged misconduct. Apparently, it is not unusual for insurance money to cover corporate officers and directors that are the target of shareholder lawsuits.

Says Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP founder and securities fraud attorney William Shepherd, “Amazing that those who put Lehman into bankruptcy can now use the first dollars available to pay their own legal bills rather than to pay their victims, including investors and the subordinates they led down the garden path to disaster. Apparently, it is again nice to be part of the ‘one-percent’ on Wall Street.”

Fuld Leads Ex-Lehman Officials in Defending Insurance Use, The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2011

Ex-Lehman Officials to Pay $90 Million to Settle Suit, NY Times, August 25, 2011

Fuld, Lehman Executives Settle Lawsuit by California Cities, Businessweek, September 28, 2011


More Blog Posts:
Lehman Brothers’ “Structured Products” Investigated by Stockbroker Fraud Law Firm Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, September 30, 2008

FINRA Orders UBS Financial Services to Pay $8.25M for Misleading Investors About Security of Lehman Brothers Principal Protected Notes, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 15, 2011

European Leaders Work to Get a Grip on Debt Crisis, Institutional Investors Securities Blog, October 19, 2011

Continue reading "Ex-Lehman Brothers Holdings Chief Executive Defends Request that Insurance Fund Pay Legal Bills" »

January 4, 2011

UBS to Pay $2.2M to CNA Financial Head for Lehman Brothers Structured Product Losses

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel says that UBS Financial Services Inc. must pay $2.2 million to CNA Financial Corp. Chief Executive and Chairman Thomas F. Motamed for losses that he and his wife Christine B. Motamed sustained from investing in Lehman Brothers structured products. The Motameds, who filed their claim against the UBS AG (UBS, UBSN.VX) unit and ex-UBS brokers Judith Sierko and Robert Ashley early in 2009, are alleging misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and other charges.

This is the largest award involving UBS-sold Lehman structured products. However, the Motameds’ securities fraud case is just one of many against UBS over its sale of about $1 billion in Lehman-related structured investment products to US clients. Many of the claimants contend that the broker-dealer failed to properly represent the investments. As part of this arbitration case, UBS must also pay 6% yearly interest on the $2.2 million to the Motameds from April 4, 2008 until payment of the award is complete. The ruling is supposed to represent rescission of the Motameds’ structured products purchase.

UBS reportedly has not won even one case over the Lehman structured products where the claimant had legal representation. Just a few months ago, UBS AG was ordered to pay $529,688 to another couple over their Lehman structured notes purchase. Steven and Ellen Edelson bought the notes while under the impression that they were “principal protected” when in fact the securities did not have such protection.

The award is the largest involving Lehman structured products purchased through UBS, which has expressed disappointment over the panel’s ruling. The broker-dealer maintains that the losses sustained by the Motameds are a result of Lehman Brothers’s failure and not UBS’s handling of the products.

To Pay $2.2 Mln To CNA Chief for Lehman-Related Losses, The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2010

UBS Must Pay Couple $530,000 for Lehman Brothers-Backed Structured Notes, Institutional Investors Securities Blog, November 5, 2010

Continue reading "UBS to Pay $2.2M to CNA Financial Head for Lehman Brothers Structured Product Losses" »

June 14, 2010

Lehman Brothers Lawsuit Claims Its Bankruptcy Was In Part Due to JP Morgan Chase’s Seizure of $8.6 Billion in Cash Reserves

The estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings is claiming that JP Morgan Chase abused its position as a clearing firm when it forced Lehman to give up $8.6 billion in cash reserve as collateral. In its securities fraud lawsuit, Lehman contends that if it hadn’t had to give up the money, it could have stayed afloat, or, at the very least, shut down its operations in an orderly manner. Instead, Lehman filed for bankruptcy in September 2008.

JP Morgan was the intermediary between Lehman and its trading partners. Per Lehman’s investment fraud lawsuit, JP Morgan used its insider information to obtain billions of dollars from Lehman through a number of “one sided agreements.” The complaint contends that JP Morgan threatened to stop serving as Lehman’s clearing house unless it offered up more collateral as protection. Lehman says it had to put up the cash because clearing services were the “lifeblood” of its “broker-dealer business.”

JP Morgan’s responsibilities, in relation to Lehman, included providing unsecured and secured intra-day credit advances for the broker-dealer’s clearing activities, acting as Lehman’s primary depositary bank for deposit accounts, and serving in the role of administrative agent and lead arranger of LBHI's $2 billion unsecured revolving credit facility.

Lehman says that the $8.6 billion in collateral was billions more than what was needed to protect JP Morgan from such losses. As a result, Lehman claims that it was unable to explore other options besides bankruptcy. It is seeking the return of the extra cash so that the money can be used to pay creditors that are still awaiting payment in the wake of its bankruptcy proceedings. Not only was Lehman’s bankruptcy case the largest bankruptcy filing in US history, but it also helped instigate the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Meantime, JP Morgan spokesperson Joseph Evangelisti has told BNA that the securities fraud complaint has no merit. A court-appointed examiner has said that Lehman’s collapse can be blamed on accounting irregularities. However, Lehman CEO Richard Fuld has said that he has no knowledge of such irregularities.

You can still seek financial recovery for Lehman structured products. Contact our securities law firm to discuss your case.

Related Web Resources:
Lehman Brothers estate sues J.P. Morgan Chase, Washington Post, May 28, 2010

Lehman Brothers Sues JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), Daily Trend, June 12, 2010

Lehman Files Biggest Bankruptcy After Suitors Balk, Bloomberg.com, September 15, 2008

April 10, 2010

Stockbroker Fraud?: Extent of Main Street Natural Gas Bonds’ Tie to Lehman Brothers May Not Have Been Disclosed to Investors

Investors of Main Street Natural Gas Bonds are claiming that not only did brokers fail to disclose the risks associated with investing in them, but they also failed to inform their clients that the bonds could be affected by the financial health of Lehman Brothers. Wall Street firms had marketed and sold Main Street Natural Gas Bonds as conservative, safe municipal bonds when, in fact, they were Lehman Brothers-backed complex derivative securities. As a result, when the investment bank filed for bankruptcy in 2008 the bonds’ trading value dropped.

If you were an investor who lost money because you invested in Main Street Natural Gas Bonds that you were told were safe, conservative investments, please contact our stockbroker fraud lawyers immediately to request your free case evaluation. You may have grounds for a securities fraud claim.

Main Street Natural Gas
Set up by the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia in 2006, Main Street Natural Gas, a non-profit corporation, was supposed to borrow money to purchase natural-gas derivatives—contracts that bet on natural gas’s future price. According to USA Today, the objective was to secure low cost, long-term, natural-gas supply for 73 municipal-owned securities.

In April 2008, Main Street gave $700 million in borrowed money to Lehman investment bank. In exchange, Lehman promised it would deliver 160 billion cubic feet of natural gas at a price that was lower than market value for the next three decades.

When Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, it had delivered under 1% of the gas that was promised. The $700 million, instead of being used to purchase natural gas, ended up in a pool to pay back the investment banks’ creditors. Now, investors are the ones that are having to pay the price with their investment losses.

Related Web Resources:
A bad investment ripples through Main Street, USA Today, October 22, 2008

The Main Street Natural Gas Bond Debacle, istockanalyst.com, January 17, 2010

March 31, 2010

UBS, JP Morgan, Lehman, Bank of America, and Other Banks Included on List of Co-Conspirators in CDR Bid-Rigging Scam

Over two dozen bankers at Wall Street investment firms have been listed as co-conspirators in a bid-rigging scheme to pay lower than market interest rates to the federal and state governments over guaranteed investment contracts. The banks named as co-conspirators include JP Morgan Chase & Co, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., Bear Stearns Cos., Bank of America Corp, Societe General, Wachovia Corp (bought by Wells Fargo), former Citigroup Inc. unit Salomon Smith Barney, and two General Electric financial businesses.

The investment banks were named in papers filed by the lawyers of a former CDR Financial Products Inc. employee. The attorneys for the advisory firm say that they “inadvertedly” included the list of bankers and individuals and asked the court to strike the exhibit that contains the list. The firms and individuals on the co-conspirators list are not charged with any wrongdoing. However, over a dozen financial firms are contending with securities fraud complaints filed by municipalities claiming conspiracy was involved.

The government says that CDR, a local-government adviser, ran auctions that were scams. This let banks pay lower interests to the local governments. In October, CDR, and executives David Rubin, Evan Zarefsky, and Zevi Wolmark were indicted. They denied any wrongdoing. This year, three other former DCR employees pleaded guilty.

While the original indictments didn’t identify any investment contract sellers that took part in the alleged conspiracy, Providers A and B were accused of paying kickbacks to CDR after winning investment deals that the firm had brokered. The firms were able to do this by allegedly paying sham fees connected to financial transactions involving other companies.

Per the court documents filed in March, the kickbacks were paid out of fees that came out of transactions entered into with Royal Bank of Canada and UBS. The US Justice Department says the kickbacks ranged from $4,500 to $475,000. Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd divisions and GE units created the investment contracts that were involved.

Approximately $400 billion in municipal bonds are issued annually. Schools, cities, and states use money they get from the sale of these bonds to buy guaranteed investment contracts. Localities use the contracts to earn a return on some of the funds until they are needed for certain projects. The IRS, which sometimes makes money on the investments, requires that they are awarded on the basis of competitive bidding to make sure that the government gets a fair return.

Related Web Resources:
JPMorgan, Lehman, UBS Named in Bid-Rigging Conspiracy, Business Week, March 26, 2010

U.S. Probe Lays Out Bid Fixing, Bond Buyer, March 29, 2010

Read the letter to District Judge Marrero (PDF)


Continue reading "UBS, JP Morgan, Lehman, Bank of America, and Other Banks Included on List of Co-Conspirators in CDR Bid-Rigging Scam " »

March 21, 2010

Claims for Losses at Lehman Brothers and in Investments into Lehman Brothers Financial Instruments Gain New Life as Court Uncovers Stunning New Evidence

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008. Now, a report by a court-appointed examiner provides 2,200 pages of details on the investment firms demise, as well as more leads into further inquiries that may need to be made. (The US Justice Department assigns examiners to bankruptcy cases to probe allegations of misconduct and wrongdoing. The examiners are there to help determine whether creditors can recover more funds and if additional regulatory action needs to occur.) Already, a number of top Lehman officials have been named defendants in securities fraud lawsuits over their alleged misconduct.

For example, examiner Anton R. Valukas appears to have found evidence of “actionable balance sheet manipulation, including use of Repo 105, an aggressive accounting practice that allowed Lehman to conceal the full extent of its financial problems. While no US law firm would sign off on this practice, Linklaters, a British law firm, did.

According to Valukas, as long as the repos took place in London through the bank’s European arm and the firm did what was necessary to make the transactions look as if they were sales, then regulatory disapproval was unlikely. Also, even after a whistleblower warned that accounting improprieties were occurring at at Lehman, Valukas says that Ernst & Young continued to certify Lehman’s financial statements.

If your account at Lehman Brothers was mismanaged or if you invested into Lehman Brothers stocks, hedge funds, notes, or other Lehman financial products that were sold by other firms, please contact our stockbroker fraud law firm immediately. Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas, LLP is committed to helping investment fraud victims throughout the US recoup their financial losses.

Related Web Resources:
Findings on Lehman Take Even Experts by Surprise, NY Times, March 10, 2010

Read the Examiner Report (PDF)

Continue reading "Claims for Losses at Lehman Brothers and in Investments into Lehman Brothers Financial Instruments Gain New Life as Court Uncovers Stunning New Evidence" »

December 14, 2009

Lehman Brothers Sues Barclays for Billions Over Windfall Profit From Asset Sale Transaction

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has filed an adversary complaint against Barclays Capital Inc. requesting the return of billions of dollars in extra profit that it says the latter made when buying Lehman’s North American brokerage business last year. Lehman says that Barclays failed to disclose that it received an illegal payment of at least $5 billion as part of the asset sale transaction. Barclays says that the asset sale terms were delineated in documents that Lehman executives signed.

Lehman is alleging breach of contract, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and several violations of the US bankruptcy code. Lehman is seeking punitive damages, compensatory damages, post-judgment interest, return of excess assets, avoidance of excess asset transfers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and, pursuant to Bankruptcy Code Section 502(d), disallowance of Barclays claims against Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

According to the adversary complaint, Lehman and Barclays executives made an agreement that Barclays would buy Lehman’s US brokerage business, key real estate pieces, and related support systems. A bankruptcy court approved the deal.

Now, however, Lehman claims that the Sale Transaction were secretly put together in a manner that gave Barclays a huge, immediate windfall profit: Specifically, an undisclosed $5 billion off the book value of assets that were moved to Barclays and later, the undisclosed transfers of billions of dollars in ‘additional value.’

Barclays, however, says that the $5 billion “discount” is in fact the difference between the $45 billion it paid and the $49.7 billion nominal value of Lehman collateral that Barclays assumed and paid for the Lehman assets.

Related Web Resource:
Read the Lehman Brothers Lawsuit

Continue reading "Lehman Brothers Sues Barclays for Billions Over Windfall Profit From Asset Sale Transaction" »

December 9, 2009

UBS Loses Lehman Arbitration Note Claim by Small Investor

In an arbitration case that could affect numerous cases that are still pending, a Financial Industry Regulation Authority panel awarded a small investor $200,000 after finding that a UBS Financial Services broker acted inappropriately when he sold high-risk Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. principal-protected notes to the claimant.

The case involving Lehman notes is one of the first to be decided by a FINRA panel. While the ruling won't establish a precedent, it could be an indication of how similar rulings may go in the future. “There are many cases pending against UBS and other firms that sold Lehman notes shortly before Lehman failed,” said stockbroker fraud attorney William Shepherd, whose firm, securities fraud firm Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP, is handling a number of such cases. “These cases often involve misrepresentations and omissions as well as unsuitability, since the investments were sold to clients who sought safety and income,” he added.

The claimant filed the arbitration claim accusing UBS of recommending structured products that are not suitable for “unsophisticated investors.” The broker purchased for the client a $75,000 return optimization note and a $225,000 guaranteed principal protection note. The FINRA panel determined that the claimant should be compensated for the principal protected note, in addition to legal fees and interest.

Although the amount awarded is less than what the investor hoped to recover, a UBS spokesman said the securities firm was disappointed that the claimant was awarded any damages and maintains the investor’s financial losses were a result of the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Investor Wins Lehman Note Arbitration, Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2009

FINRA awards US investor in Lehman notes $200,000, Reuters, December 5, 2009

Continue reading "UBS Loses Lehman Arbitration Note Claim by Small Investor" »

August 31, 2009

In Investment fraud Lawsuit Against Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Court Grants Class Certification

A District Court judge has granted class certification in the securities fraud lawsuit against Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs. The plaintiffs are accusing the broker-dealers of putting forth misleading analysts reports about RSL Communications Inc. for the purposes of maintaining or obtaining profitable financial and advisory work from RSL. Per Judge Shira Sheindlin, the class is to be made up of all parties that bought RSL Common stock between April 30, 1999 and December 29, 2000.

RSL investors, who are the plaintiffs, contend that the defendants artificially inflated the market price of RSL common stock, which injured them and other class members.

In July 2005, the court had certified a class that included anyone who had bought or acquired RSL equity shares between the dates noted above after determining that the plaintiffs had made “some showing” that Rule 23 requirements had been satisfied. The broker-dealer defendants appealed.

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the class certification order and remanded the action for reconsideration. It’s decision in e Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, 471 F.3d 24 had clarified class certification standards.

Two years later, pending the outcome In re Salomon Analyst Metromedia Litigation, the court issued a stay. Following its opinion, which held that market presumption includes securities fraud allegations against research analysts, the Court lifted the stay, allowing the plaintiffs to renew their motion for class certification. The court granted the motion and noted that the defendants have been unable to “rebut the fraud on the market presumption by the preponderance of the evidence on the basis that the analyst reports” are missing certain key pieces of information. Per their securities fraud claim, plaintiffs can therefore avail of the “fraud on the market presumption to establish transaction causation.”

The court said that the plaintiffs have succeeded in proving that loss causation can be proven on a “class-wide basis."

Related Web Resources:
Court OKs Class Cert. In Fraud Suit Against Lehman, Law360, August 5, 2009

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (PDF)

Continue reading "In Investment fraud Lawsuit Against Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Court Grants Class Certification" »

June 12, 2009

Brokers Renew Push for Investors to Buy Structured Products

Brokers are once again getting behind structured products, hoping that investors will bite. While sales of structured products during 2008’s 4th quarter—at $5.8 billion—was down 75% from the year’s 1st quarter, sales are starting to go up. One reason for this is that certain structured products, such as return-enhanced notes and principal protected notes, are considered safer than reverse convertibles, which led to some of the worst losses for investor.

Ideally, structured products are supposed to provide sturdy profits, while limiting losses, and brokers like them because the commissions are high. However, representatives must still account for why these products haven’t delivered the way investors were told they would. Many investors that bought structured products from Lehman Brothers, such as the Lehman principal-protected notes, incurred some large losses. Some of these notes were bought through a UBS Financial Services office in Houston, Texas.

Until the bear market struck, structured products did incredibly well, and sales almost doubled to $105 billion in 2007 before dropping to $70 billion last year when structured products, collateralized debt loans, and credit default swaps played a huge role in the global financial collapse.

Reverse convertibles are considered the most high-risk structured product—short-term bonds with a large interest that can seriously hurt investors if the underlying stock drops dramatically. Investors can end up with shares with a value far below the principal. For example, 78-year-old Dominic Annino says he invested $300,000 in IndyMac shares and JetBlue shares and lost money after the stocks fell. He filed an arbitration complaint with FINRA and claims that the broker that sold him the Wells Fargo reverse convertibles never fully explained to him what he was getting himself into. Still, brokers are hoping that last year’s stock market fiasco won’t discourage investors from trying structured products again.

Twice Shy On Structured Products? Wall Street Journal Online, May 28, 2009

Understanding Structured Products, Investopedia

Continue reading "Brokers Renew Push for Investors to Buy Structured Products" »

June 4, 2009

UBS Financial Services Misled Investors about Lehman Brothers Securities, Says New Hampshire Regulators

According to New Hampshire securities regulators, UBS Financial Services Inc., a unit of UBS AG, misled investors regarding complex securities that were issued by Lehman Brothers before the latter filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008. The Bureau of Securities Regulation says investors were misled when the representatives for the UBS unit told them that the securities were safe, while failing to let them know that Lehman Brothers was in trouble. The state regulators are also accusing UBS of failing to properly supervise the employees that sold the structured products and of engaging in improper sales practices.

Some 42 New Hampshire investors could lose more than $2.5 million from securities underwritten by Lehman Brothers. State regulators have filed a cease-and-desist order against UBS and they are seeking an unspecified sum from the financial firm.

UBS disputes the Bureau of Securities Regulation's allegations. The investment bank claims it didn’t do anything improper when it sold the Lehman products to UBS clients and that its employees engaged in the proper sales practices, followed all regulatory guidelines, abided by client disclosure guidelines, as well as followed firm procedures and industry regulations. The investment bank contends that any losses experienced by investors occurred because Lehman Brothers failed unexpectedly. UBS vows to combat the New Hampshire regulators' allegations.

Already, a number of investors have filed claims against Lehman Brothers. Last year, with $613 billion in debt, Lehman filed the largest bankruptcy in US history. Globally, the collapse of Lehman Brothers resulted in investor losses worth billions of dollars. Many clients have blamed lenders for failing to warn them that Lehman was in trouble.

Meantime, Credit Suisse has offered to pay $140.7 million to compensate more than 3,700 of its retail clients for their Lehman financial products that now have no value.

Securities Fraud Attorney Sam Edwards, partner of the law firm of Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP says: "While many smaller investors into Auction Rate Securities have now been paid, our firm is representing a number of larger investors, many of whom have millions of dollars that have been frozen for more than a year. Many of these are business which have been crippled by the loss of liquidity of these funds and are seeking resulting business losses."

Related Web Resources:
UBS says will fight New Hampshire Lehman case, Reuters, June 4, 2009

UBS Sold Unsuitable Lehman Securities, New Hampshire Alleges, Bloomberg.com, June 4, 2009

Bureau of Securities Regulation


Continue reading "UBS Financial Services Misled Investors about Lehman Brothers Securities, Says New Hampshire Regulators" »

November 10, 2008

Protestors in Asia Decrying Lehman Brothers “Mini-Bond” Collapse Could Be A Sign of More Lawsuits and Claims Against US Broker-Dealers

Angry investors in Hong Kong and Singapore began protesting last month over losses they suffered due to the collapse of Lehman Brothers credit-linked notes. Also known as mini-bonds, their value is now at pennies on the dollar, and investors want banks to buy the credit-linked notes back from them.

Investors of Lehman mini-bonds have experienced devastating losses. Reports indicate that financial service firms told Asian investors that Lehman Brothers mini-bonds were a safe alternative to fixed deposits.

Over 30,000 Hong Kong investors suffered losses in Lehman Brothers mini-bonds. Close to 10,000 investors in Singapore could lose more than $338 million dollars as a result of the mini-bond collapse. Last month, 600 Singaporean investors attended a public meeting to ask banks why they sold them Lehman Brothers credit-linked notes. Now, investors in the US that also were influenced by similar marketing messages about Lehman Brothers bonds and other "safe" investments are contacting investment fraud attorneys about filing arbitration claims and lawsuits.

Some lawyers are asking how such an overconcentration of mini-bonds, as well as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shares, managed to end up in the portfolios of senior investor who cannot afford to take the kind of financial hits that have come with the market collapse. For example, since July, some Fannie Mae shares have dropped in price from $19.50 to $1.40.

While investor claims against broker-dealers had dropped steadily since 2003 (the lowest number of claims ever, at 3,228, was in 2007), FINRA has already received at at least 3,469 claims this year.

Related Web Resources:

Hong Kong Investors Grapple with Effects of Lehman Collapse

Financial Crisis Politically Awakens Singapore Investors, Reuters, November 7, 2008

Continue reading "Protestors in Asia Decrying Lehman Brothers “Mini-Bond” Collapse Could Be A Sign of More Lawsuits and Claims Against US Broker-Dealers" »

September 30, 2008

Lehman Brothers’ “Structured Products” Investigated by Stockbroker Fraud Law Firm Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP

This week, the securities fraud law firm of Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP announced that it is investigating claims involving “structured products” that were created by Lehman Brothers. Structured products are also called “structured notes.”

These financial instruments combine derivatives with equities and/or fixed incomes to create a product meant to provide the upside of the stock market along with fixed income security. These notes were usually marketed to conservative investors wanting a reasonable yield, the possibility of a modest gain in principal, and the preservation of capital. Other brokerage houses that marketed structured products to their own clients included Merrill Lynch, UBS, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Wachovia.

There is a brochure that discusses structured notes sold by Lehman Brothers in August 2008 (just one month before the now defunct brokerage firm filed for bankruptcy) that promised “100% principal protection” and “uncapped appreciation potential” based on Standard & Poor's 500 Index gains. The collateral material also said that, at worst, an investor would regain the principal amount invested within three years. However, Lehman Brothers and other brokerage firms were actually using structured products to cover their operational shortfalls.

Based on findings from its ongoing investigation, Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP has found that buyers rarely were aware that any issuer other than the brokerage firm they were working with was involved. These purchases became immediately subject to the issuer’s credit and the investment could lose its value were the issuer to default. This may very well be what has transpired with the structured notes sold by Lehman Brothers.

Please contact our stockbroker fraud law firm today if your financial advisor suggested that you buy a Lehman Brothers structured note.

Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP Investigates Claims Involving Lehman Brothers' 'Structured Products', Marketwatch, September 30, 2008


Related Web Resources:

Structured Products, Lehman Brothers

Banking Crisis: Lehman Brothers Files for Bankruptcy Protection, Guardian.Co.UK

July 21, 2008

SEC Subpoenas Over 50 Hedge Fund Advisors in Probe of Whether Stock Price Manipulation Affected Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers Shares

The Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed over 50 hedge fund advisors, including SAC Capital Advisors, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Citadel Investment Group, as part of its probe into whether rumors affected the shares of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

The SEC is looking for information related to options trading and short-selling involving the two investment firms. The subpoenas are part of a wider investigation about trades in bank securities and the communications between the hedge funds and others. The SEC has reassured the parties being subpoenaed that they are not necessarily direct targets of the probe.

Last week, regulators announced that they are investigating whether certain managers had spread rumors to cause share prices to drop. Investigators are also trying to figure out whether correct policies and training procedures had been put in place to detect market manipulation.

The NYSE Euronext’s regulatory arm and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority are also working together to find out about the compliance polices of certain large securities firms related to rumors and false information. The companies are being asked whether they executed internal probes about the rumors related to the sub-prime loan business, a potential federal government bailout affecting several financial institutions, and the use of the Federal reserve discount window.

As a result of the subpoenas, broker-dealers and hedge funds are rushing to provide regulators with trading records and e-mails.

If you believe that you are a victim of securities fraud, please contact Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP for your free consultation with one of our experienced stockbroker fraud lawyers today.

Related Web Resources:

Firms hurry to comply with SEC subpoenas, Boston.com, July 17, 2008

SEC Issues Subpoenas in Banking Probe, TheStreet.com, July 16, 2008

US Securities and Exchange Commission

March 19, 2008

Wachovia Securities Analyst Comments on Bear Stearns’ Sale and Calls Merrill Lynch the “Riskiest” Investment Bank

In a note to investors, Wachovia Securities Analyst Doug Sipkin commented on the state of the leading Wall Street securities firms in light of the worsening global credit crisis.

Sipkin blamed the “The failure of Bear Stearns” on a “management issue” rather than a “market issue.” JP Morgan Chase & Co. recently purchased Bear Stearns, the fifth largest securities company, for $236 million—that’s $2/share—a 90% market drop in just two days. The securities firm ran out of money after clients took away funds.

Sipkin, however, reassured investors that the action taken by the Federal Reserve to reduce emergency lending rates will keep the other four big securities firms in business.

The Wachovia analyst says that worries about Lehman Brothers are misguided and that the bank has sufficient liquidity to keep business running. Sipkin cited Lehman’s “superior management” and “superior business.”

Lehman and Goldman Sachs are expected to garner new business from the Bear sale. Sipkin said Goldman will likely benefit from “migrating prime brokerage balances,” while Lehman would likely pick up “material market share" in mortgages.

Morgan Stanley, said Sipkin, seems to be weathering the crisis because it has its asset management and brokerage businesses.

Sipkin pointed to Merrill Lynch as appearing to be the weakest of the top Wall Street firms—but said that it would also likely stay afloat, considering that its balance sheet had the highest leverage.

Related Web Resources:

Ahead of the Bell: Investment Banks, Chron.com/AP, March 18, 2008

US stock market drops as Bear Stearns sold for $2/share, Reuters, March 17, 2008

JP Morgan Shares to Acquire Bear Stearns, Bear Stearns


If you have been the victim of investor fraud, you are entitled to the recovery of your lost investment. Contact Shepherd Smith and Edwards today to schedule your free consultation with one of our stockbroker fraud lawyers.

January 24, 2008

Deutsche Bank Trust Company, Goldman Sachs Group, and Bank of America Corporation are Among the 21 Lenders Named in Cleveland, Ohio Lawsuit

The city of Cleveland, Ohio is suing 21 financial institutions for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages caused by subprime lending and securitization. The defendants named in the lawsuit are:

• Deutsche Bank Trust Company
• Ameriquest Mortgage Company
• Bank of America Corporation
• The Bear Stearns Companies
• Citigroup, Inc.
• Countrywide Financial Corp.
• Credit Suisse (USA)
• Fremont General Corporation
• GMAC-RFC
• Goldman Sachs Group
• Greenwich Capital Markets, Inc.
• HSBC Holdings, PLC
• Indymac Bancorp., Inc.
• J.P. Morgan Chase Co.
• Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.
• Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
• Morgan Stanley
• Novastar Financial Inc.
• Option One Mortgage Corporation
• Washington Mutual Inc.
• Wells Fargo & Co.

The city of Cleveland says that the defendants issued loans to people who would never have been able to pay them back and that the foreclosures were inevitable. The lawsuit says that not only did the financial institutions issue loans to ill-qualified borrowers, but they securitized the loans and used the profits to fund more subprime mortgages, make more money, and secure more borrowers.

In the past two years, Cleveland has experienced over 7,000 foreclosures. Entire city blocks have been vacated and violent crime and arson incidents have increased. 1,000 abandoned homes have been torn down. Cleveland is calling the “propagation of subprime mortgages… and the corresponding foreclosures... a public nuisance as defined by Ohio common law.

As a result, the city of Cleveland’s population was 444,000 last year—way down from its nearly one million residents in 1950. The decrease in population size has negatively affected the city’s budget.

The stockbroker law firm of Shepherd Smith and Edwards represents investors who have lost money due to the misconduct or negligent actions of broker-dealers and other financial institutions. Contact Shepherd Smith and Edwards today and one of our stockbroker fraud lawyers will be happy to offer you a free consultation.

Related Web Resources:

Cleveland Sues 21 Lenders Over Subprime Mortgages, Herald-Tribune, January 12, 2008

Read the Complaint (PDF)

May 27, 2007

Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Ex-Brokers Face Retrial in Eavesdropping Case

Three former brokers of Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers face a second trial on charges they conspired to commit fraud by allowing day traders to eavesdrop on orders being discussed on investment firms' internal “squawk boxes.” Four current and former executives at the day trading firm A. B. Watley Group will also be retried for their alleged roles in the scheme.

After a seven-week trail seven defendants including these former brokers were acquitted of securities fraud and other charges, but the jury deadlocked on the conspiracy charges opening the door to a retrial.

Prosecutors assert the brokers conspired to give Watley traders access to large orders broadcast over intercoms, or “squawk boxes”, in exchange for cash and commissions. The traders bought or sold stock ahead of the orders in anticipation of share-price swings, prosecutors say.

During the first trial, John J. Amore, Watley’s former chief executive and a prosecution witness, testified he introduced the intercom scheme when he was hired in 2002 as a consultant. Amore pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud prior to the trial.

The law firm of Shepherd Smith and Edwards represents institutional and individual investors in investment claims. Collectively, we have recovered more than $100 million from investment and securities brokerage firms. If you or your firm has sustained significant losses in investments contact us to arrange a free confidential consultation with one of our securities litigation lawyers.