Raymond James has agreed to return $31,240,000 to Indiana investors to settle allegations that it misled them about the risks involved in the auction-rate securities market. In addition to repurchasing ARS that have been frozen since the market failed in 2008, the financial firm will also pay a $63,000 civil penalty.
When the ARS market froze, investors that had thought their investments were liquid like cash were left in the lurch because they were not able to retrieve their funds. The Indiana Securities Division has been at the helm of the efforts to investigated Raymond James and work out a settlement for all state securities regulators. Over the last few years, the states have worked hard to get all of the financial firms accused of not fully apprising investors about the ARS risks to buy back the securities.
ARS are long-term investments with dividends or interest rates paid that are frequently reset through auctions that take place at specific intervals. The auctions are supposed to give a source of liquidity to investors wanting to sell their ARS.
Unfortunately, when the ARS market collapsed in early 2008, many of the auctions started to fail and investors could not get rid of their ARS holdings. This proved a problem for those that managed their ARS as a way to get easy access to cash.
While some ARS issuers did say they would redeem shares-usually at par value-some could not redeem all of their investors’ shares, which left the latter with holdings that could not be liquidated.
ARS and Hoosier Investors
The state of Indiana has also reached ARS settlements with other securities firms that allegedly misled Hoosier investors. In April of last year, 12 financial firms agreed to buyback over $370 million in ARS from these investors, while also consenting to pay over $3.5 million in fines. Financial firms that reached settlements then include:
• Goldman Sachs • Banc of America • Credit Suisse • Citigroup • JP Morgan • Deutsch Bank
• Morgan Stanley • Merrill Lynch • RBC • UBS • Stifel Nicolaus & Co.
These financial firms have also reached settlements with other US states. However, millions of dollars in ARS remain frozen and there is still more to be done to help investors regain access to their frozen funds. Our stockbroker fraud law firm continues to work hard to help recoup our clients’ money from their ARS that turned illiquid.
Investors rely on brokers and investment advisers for advice on where they should place their money. When a financial adviser misleads a client, causing the latter to put their money in investments that are inappropriate, it is the investor who loses out and has to live with the consequences of a failed investment.
State Announces $31 Million Securities Settlement, Inside Indiana Business, August 24, 2011
State finalizes auction-rate securities settlements, Indianapolis Business Journal, April 29, 2010
Auction Rate Securities: What Happens When Auctions Fail, FINRA
More Blog Posts:
Auction-Rate Securities Investigations by SEC and NY Attorney General Are Ongoing, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, April 21, 2011
Class Auction-Rate Securities Lawsuit Against Raymond James Financial Survives Dismissal, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, September 27, 2010
Credit Suisse Ordered to Pay STMicroelectronics N.V. $404M Over Improper ARS Investment, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, June 15, 2011
Even with state securities officials working hard to get Wall Street firms to buy back ARS, you still want to retain an experienced securities fraud law firm that will make sure you recover everything you are owed.