To settle securities fraud complaints by investors that bought private placements in Provident Royalties and Medical Capital through its independent-brokerage unit Securities America, Ameriprise Financial Inc. will pay $27 million. It was just two weeks ago that Securities America agreed to pay $21 million to settle the same class of approximately 2,000 investors who lost about $300 million through Ponzi scams. Unfortunately, private placements, which should be restricted to rich “accredited ” investors, were offered to a wider range of investors that likely did not fully understand the risks involved.
In its annual report, Ameriprise revealed that Securities America clients sustained nearly $400 million in financial losses from the private placements. The financial planning and wealth management firm has about $40 million in reserves. Aside from the class action lawsuits, Securities America and Ameriprise face lawsuits in Massachusetts and a “significant” number of individual securities claims in arbitration.
To avail of the class-action settlements, an investor would have to drop his/her arbitration case. However, as the proposed settlements are greater than Securities America’s “net worth,” claimants may not get all of the money that they are owed. According to Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas Founder and Securities Fraud Lawyer William Shepherd, “With the class legal fees and expenses not yet revealed, this is-at best-nine cents on the dollar for the victims. This would actually be a bit better than most securities class action cases, in which the average paid to victims is closer to seven percent of their losses. Our firm represents securities fraud victims one at a time. These are investors who have losses substantial enough to support their own case. While they have to ‘opt-out’ of the class action in order to file their individual claims, gambling 7% of losses to seek a far higher recovery is often a wise decision.”
Related Web Resources:
Ameriprise settles investor suit for $27 million: lawyer, Reuters, March 3, 2011
Lawsuits suck air out of Securities America’s cash cushion, Investment News, March 1, 2011
Texas Securities Fraud: Three FINRA Cases Against Securities America Over Sale of Private Placements Halted, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 22, 2011
Securities America Inc. to Pay $1.2M in Compensatory and Punitive Damages Over Allegedly Fraudulent Medical Capital Notes, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, January 6, 2011
To find out whether filing an individual securities claim would be to your benefit, contact our securities fraud law firm today.