ALERT H.R. 1982 New Cosponsor

– Congresswoman Kay Granger [R-TX12] has signed on to support H.R. 1982!

If you reside in Congresswoman Granger’s district, please take a moment and send a Thank You letter by clicking [...]

Regulators zero in on protecting elderly investors

An aging population has investment advisers and brokers zeroing in on older clients to build their books of business, while regulators target the same group for investor protection. On Monday, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. filed a cease-and-desist order against Avenir Financial Group for sales of equity in the firm and promissory notes. Finra alleged that Avenir lied about the health of the firm and raised more than $730,000 over three years in sales mostly to elderly customers. Finra also barred an Avenir registered representative, Cesar Rodriguez, for the personal use of $77,000 in investor funds. More in Investment News [...]

SEC Investigating Whether Bank of America Broke Customer-Protection Rules

The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Bank of America Corp. broke rules designed to safeguard client accounts, potentially putting retail-brokerage funds at risk in order to generate more profits, according to people familiar with the inquiry. For at least three years, the bank used large, complex trades and loans to save tens of millions of dollars a year in funding costs and to free up billions of dollars in cash and securities for trading that Bank of America otherwise would have needed to keep off-limits, these people said. More in the Wall Street Journal [...]

Madoff Investor Suit Against Citigroup Unit, PwC Resurrected

A Citigroup Inc. unit and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP must face claims they played a part in costing investors more than $1 billion in Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, an appeals court ruled. Investors in the Kingate Global and Euro funds, which fed money into Madoff’s firm, sued an offshore subsidiary of the New York-based bank and the accounting company for their roles in administering and auditing the funds. Several other entities must also face claims in the suit revived Thursday by a federal appeals court in Manhattan. More on Bloomberg Business [...]



After months of anticipation, Capital Markets Subcommittee Chairman Garrett and Congresswoman Maloney announced the reintroduction of the long-awaited SIPC legislation that promises SIPC protection for all investor customers of broker-dealers, and relief for thousands of innocent Madoff and Stanford victims. The legislation is precisely the same as what was introduced in the 113th Congress, and retains the original name: The [...]

Madoff Trustee Passes Halfway Mark in Repaying Ponzi Victims

The trustee unwinding Bernard Madoff’s $17.5 billion fraud is passing the halfway mark in his quest to repay victims, after an appeals court ruling freed up more cash. Former customers of the convicted con man are set to receive a new round of payments totaling $1.25 billion — the second largest such distribution since the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history unraveled more than six years ago. The payout, which needs approval from the federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan, will boost the amount returned to victims to about $8.22 billion — or more than half the lost principal of approved claims totaling $13.6 billion, the trustee, Irving Picard, said Wednesday in a statement. More on Bloomberg Business [...]

U.S. Plans Stiffer Rules Protecting Retiree Cash

Federal regulators on Tuesday proposed rules, more than four years in the making, to provide greater consumer protection for retirement savings, requiring a broader group of investment professionals to act in their customers’ best interests when handling their retirement money. The financial services industry can be a minefield for ordinary investors, who often cannot tell whether their advisers are putting the investors’ interests first; the legal term for this is fiduciary duty. The rules, proposed by the Labor Department, which oversees retirement accounts, are part of the Obama administration’s declared mission to support the middle class. The proposed rules would eliminate some of the loopholes that allow brokers to avoid acting as fiduciaries when providing advice on retirement money held inside accounts like 401(k)’s and in individual retirement accounts, which hold roughly $7 trillion, as estimated by the Federal Reserve. More in the New York Times [...]

Judge Approves Second Payout to MF Global Creditors

NEW YORK—A judge Wednesday said MF Global Inc. could distribute more than $480 million to unsecured creditors of the collapsed brokerage, bringing their recoveries to about 74% of what they are owed. “The results to date in these cases have certainly surprised me,” Judge Martin Glenn of U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan said. “Enormous progress has been made.” Creditors should begin receiving the money 14 days after the judge signs the order. These creditors will have received nearly $1 billion after the payout, an outcome many considered unthinkable when the brokerage’s parent imploded into bankruptcy in the fall of 2011. More in the Wall Street Journal [...]

SEC panel to call for better Wall Street disciplinary database

A panel of investor advocates said on Thursday they were developing a proposal for U.S. securities regulators that will make it easier for retail investors to conduct online background checks of financial professionals before hiring them. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee discussed the recommendation amid concerns about elderly investors who are often prime targets for fraudsters. It plans to vote on its recommendation in July. More on Reuters [...]

SEC’s Head of Compliance, Andrew Bowden, to Leave

WASHINGTON—A top Securities and Exchange Commission official who made headlines for criticizing the private-equity industry last year is planning to leave the commission. The SEC announced Tuesday that Andrew Bowden will step down from his post as head of the SEC’s Office of Compliance, Inspections and Examinations at the end of April, to return to the private sector. More in the Wall Street Journal [...]