Wachovia Securities, LLC and related entities will offer to refund $324.6 million in auction-rate securities from Pennsylvania investors. The Pennsylvania Securities Commission announced the ARS repurchasing agreement on August 11. Wachovia must also pay the commonwealth a $2.52 million assessment for the part the broker-dealer played in the ARS market.
According to Robert Lam, the commission chairperson, Wachovia failed to properly supervise its agents that dealing with investors over the sale of auction-rate securities, as well as engaged in business practices that were “unethical or dishonest.” Commissioner Steven Irwin said Wachovia sold and marketed ARS as liquid investments even though they were long-term investments that were involved in a complicated auction process. The auction-rate securities market failed in 2008.
Right before the ARS market went downhill, over 1,300 Pennsylvania retail investors held ARS that they had purchased from Wachovia. Now, the broker-dealer will repurchase the ARS.
The Pennsylvania commission is investigating other firms over any alleged misconduct committed that caused investors to get stuck with frozen ARS that they had been told were liquid, similar to cash. The commission has made it clear that they will not allow members of the securities industry to take part in dishonest or unethical business practices.
Wachovia sold more than $12.8 billion in ARS to investors throughout the US. Securities regulators in different states have pushed for Wachovia and other brokerage firms, such as Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Bank of America, and UBS to buyback the frozen auction-rate securities that investors were left with after the market dropped. Broker-dealers are accused of misrepresenting ARS to clients and that despite knowing that the market was about to collapse continuing to sell ARS to investors.
Related Web Resources:
Pennsylvania Securities Commission Orders Wachovia to Refund Over $300 Million to More Than 1,300 for Auction Rate Securities, Earth Times, August 11, 2009
Wachovia to Buy Back $325 Million in ARS, Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2009
Our stockbroker fraud law firm is working hard for our investor clients with frozen ARS and helping them get their investments back.