Subscribe: RSS Feed | Twitter | Facebook | Email
Home | Contact Us

Posts Tagged ‘Auction rate Securities fraud’

Barack and Mitt: America’s Unfinished Business

Posted by Larry Doyle on September 6th, 2012 1:08 PM |

Should we even have to remind them?

Do the crowds on both sides of the political aisle think Americans are this naive? Well, actually, on that note, the pols from both sides are right. Many Americans remain exceptionally naive regarding far too many issues, financial and otherwise.

The media is clearly of little help in exposing the ugly underside of the Wall Street – Washington conspiracy. That said, many Americans are now far savvier than they were a few short years ago when it comes to appreciating the rackets being run by BOTH political parties, their cronies on Wall Street, and the puppets ensconced within too many of our regulators. (more…)

Calling All Auction-Rate Securities Holders: “A Break for 8 Banks” or Did the Fed Violate Your Property Rights?

Posted by Larry Doyle on April 14th, 2011 5:48 PM |

New information would seem to implicate the Federal Reserve for violating the property rights of tens of thousands of investors holding auction-rate securities. Could this be true? Let’s navigate.

I have been writing about the nightmare known as auction-rate securities since mid-January 2009. I often pause to reflect on ARS holders whom I have ‘met’ here at Sense on Cents but whom I will never truly know. I think of how their lives have been forever changed and negatively impacted from having been entangled in this ARS web. The pain shared in so many stories is very real.

I have also often thought that somebody or some institution within our government sacrificed the welfare (cash, mental, physical, emotional) of so many tens of thousands of individual ARS holders in order to help our large financial institutions. I shared that opinion in the midst of an interview with PBS last week. (The PBS documentary addressing the ARS travesty should run this summer.)

Today we learn that the Federal Reserve intervened in the midst of an SEC investigation of the ARS scandal in mid-2008 and ‘slowed the horses.’ (more…)

ARS Fight Continues: Another Round with Oppenheimer

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 18th, 2010 11:06 AM |

The fight for justice for auction-rate securities investors has many rounds yet to go. I remain determined to fight, cover this story, and highlight the ongoing fraud and injustice perpetrated on ARS investors everywhere until the last punch has been thrown. On that note, let’s get ready to rumble!

I received a recent message from an individual in Florida. The fact that the financial fraud in this specific case and the ARS market in totality remain largely unknown to the American public is an indictment of Wall Street, the financial industry at large, our financial regulators, the broad financial media, Congress, and ultimately our nation. Let’s strap it back on, and go after those individuals and institutions in our country who have failed to protect our brothers and sisters who were defrauded in the distribution of ARS. (more…)

Auction-Rate Securities: The Fraud Continues

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 3rd, 2010 10:57 AM |

To: Wall Street, Washington, and State Capitols

From: Sense on Cents

Re: Auction-Rate Securities Fraud and Financial Regulatory Reform

To all those enmeshed on both sides of the political-financial incest and currently debating and lobbying on the merits of proposed financial regulatory reform, you are proving yourselves to be nothing more than massive frauds yourselves by not fully addressing and exposing the single greatest financial fraud perpetrated on American investors, that is the world of auction-rate securities.

To President Obama, members of Congress, financial regulators, and Wall Street executives, your unwillingness and inability to openly and honestly address the perpetuation of the fraud surrounding ARS ($150 billion ARS remain outstanding) paints you as nothing more than aiding and abetting the fraud itself. Who amongst you is even willing to fully address this topic? (more…)

Oppenheimer ARS Investor Rails on NY AG Cuomo re: OPCO-ARS Settlement

Posted by Larry Doyle on March 3rd, 2010 5:15 PM |

How often do politicians declare victory while innocent victims remain baffled, bewildered, and befuddled as they hang onto the pangs of defeat? How often do politicians look to score political points while not delivering real progress let alone justice for those victimized by fraud? Regrettably, this dynamic plays out all too often.

I witness it in a letter sent today by an innocent investor victimized by the fraudulent distribution of auction-rate securities by Oppenheimer Holdings. This investor who remains nameless for obvious reasons shares his pain and anguish in a letter sent to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office.

Feel his pain and know that Cuomo’s settlement and victory lap are not even a drop in the bucket of the remaining $150 billion frozen ARS market. Two years have passed since the ARS market froze. For many investors, their lives and well beings froze right along with it.

Who within our political circles, our financial regulatory framework, our media are truly willing to stand up for all these victims? (more…)

Wall Street’s Greatest Fraud

Posted by Larry Doyle on July 20th, 2009 9:07 AM |

Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme has to be the greatest fraud of all time, right? Allen Stanford is likely a distant second, correct?

Well, actually, no. Madoff has certainly reserved a special place in financial ‘hell’ for his fraud, but make no mistake, the single greatest fraud ever perpetrated on investors is the collective Wall Street enterprise that marketed and distributed Auction-Rate Securities. The ARS market at its peak was a $330 BILLION market. Of that initial size, those on Wall Street tracking developments within the ARS market project that $165 BILLION held by thousands of retail and institutional investors remain frozen.

The Wall Street Journal highlights the next in what could be a long running series of ARS investigations in writing this morning, Cuomo Says Schwab Faces Fraud Suit:

In an official notice sent to Charles Schwab & Co. Friday, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo warned that his office plans to sue the largest online brokerage firm for civil fraud over its marketing and sales of auction-rate securities to clients. Emails and testimony cited in the letter show Schwab’s brokers had little idea of what they were selling and later failed to tell clients that the market was collapsing.

I am heartened to see AG Cuomo launch this action against Schwab but I wonder why he does not simultaneously take the same action against EVERY bank, broker, and investment management firm involved in the marketing and distribution of ARS.

Regular readers of Sense on Cents know that I believe the ARS trail leads back to the Wall Street self-regulatory organization, FINRA. For the benefit of our newer readers, allow me to reconnect the dots once again. (more…)

The Wall Street “Sausage-Making” Process

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 20th, 2009 9:01 AM |

Why do pigs need to go through such a curing process before finding their way to market? The innards of a pig are filled with all sorts of waste. In the same vein, the new Wall Street pig, otherwise known as an x-Tender security (but hereby deemed Porky Pig at Sense on Cents), is also filled with similar “junk.” I will try to make this quick, but bring a mask as we navigate the Wall Street sausage factory.

Please recall from my post yesterday, “An Auction-Rate Pig by Any Other Name Is Still a Pig”, that this ‘new’ Wall Street product is merely a revised version of THE LARGEST fraud perpetrated in the history of finance. This “pig” allows municipalities to address long-term funding needs via the short term debt market. The arbitrage involved in that process is akin to slaughtering the pig and making sausage.

Given the stench surrounding this product, take a deep breath as we tip-toe through the pigsty and move into the sausage factory. The Wall Street Journal can serve as our tour guide as it writes, Belt-Tightening by States Squeezes Cities and Towns. Let me connect the dots.

As this article highlights, municipalities across our country are increasingly financially strapped by a combination of decreasing tax revenues and lessened state funding. Regrettably, these municipalities are forced to cut expenses via a reduction in services and layoffs. Additionally, it is only logical to expect that municipalities will increase taxes to bridge their financial gap.

Add it all up, though, and it is very clear that an overwhelming number of municipalities in our nation are not as creditworthy today as a year or two ago. When credit ratings decline, borrowing costs go up. Those increased borrowing costs further squeeze the municipalities. What to do? Let’s enter the sausage factory.

With the blessing of the SEC, and the wizardry of financial engineers on Wall Street, municipalities can address long-term funding needs by borrowing money via the short-term market with a ‘promise’ to repay the funds if the short-term market shuts down. These municipal deals, much like sausage, are packaged and distributed via money market funds that incorporate a variety of short term deals. As such, the poorer credit quality of the municipality is “processed” and sold without investors fully appreciating the contents of the money market fund.

This works, right? The municipality receives the badly needed funds and the Wall Street banks earn their fees. Meanwhile, investors – who by nature move in and out of money market funds expecting them never to “break the buck” (meaning the funds will always maintain a $1.00 net asset value) – are kept in the dark.

Investors should appreciate that money market funds will likely “break the buck” going forward. All one needs to do is review the fiasco involved with the longstanding money market fund, The Reserve Fund.  Investors in that money market fund are now involved in a protracted legal dispute and the value of the fund is truly a great unknown. What happened? The fund took increased credit risk in a variety of products. Investors were clueless of these credit risks.

The same “sausage-making” is going on with this new x-Tender product. I exhort every investor to “check the contents” and ask the “butcher”, that being your broker or financial planner, as to what is going into that money market fund before you buy it.

LD






Recent Posts


ECONOMIC ALL-STARS


Archives