Goldman Sachs Permanently Exempted from Company Act Disqualification Provision, Says SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission has decided to permanently exempt Goldman & Sachs Co. from a 1940 Investment Company Act provision that would have disqualified the financial firm from serving as a principal underwrite. Goldman and several of its affiliates applied for exemption from ICA Section 9(a) after settling for $550 million SEC securities fraud charges that it made material misrepresentations related to the 2007 structuring and sale of derivative product connected to subprime mortgages.

Under the provision, a person cannot act as a principal underwriter or investment adviser for an investment firm if, due to misconduct, the party in question is enjoined from taking part in any practice or conduct related to the purchase or sale of any security. Goldman, in its application, noted that since the district court had barred it and its affiliates from violating federal securities laws moving forward, the provision would apply to disqualify them from giving advisory services to investment companies.

After granting the broker-dealer a temporary exemption in July, the SEC issued Goldman a permanent one. The SEC noted that the applicants’ behavior did not make it against the “public interest or protection of investors” to grant the permanent exemption.

Regarding the $550 million securities fraud settlement, which is the largest penalty that the SEC has ordered a financial firm to pay, Goldman was accused of misleading investors about a synthetic collateralized debt obligation as the housing market was collapsing. Investors suffered more than $1 billion in financial losses. The brokerage firm admitted that it provided incomplete marketing information for the product and has agreed to reform its business practices.

Related Web Resources:
Investment Company Act of 1940

Goldman Sachs, SEC Reach $550 Million Settlement, PBS News, July 15, 2010
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