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Articles Posted in Credit Default Swaps

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether financial firms colluded together so that prices in the $6 trillion credit default swaps indexes market became skewed. According to the news outlet’s source, the regulator is trying to figure out whether dealers misrepresented index prices. The SEC is reportedly examining indexes that are less-liquid and actively traded.

With the credit-default swaps benchmark, investors can make bets on whether companies, mortgage-backed securities, or countries will default. Trading in swaps index contracts has increased in recent years because investors have been looking for easy ways to make bets via speculation.

At the conclusion of every trading day, benchmark prices for indexes are calculated by third-party providers according to dealer quotes. This sets the level at which traders are able to make their positions. This process resembles the way markets that don’t trade on exchanges establish benchmark prices.

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Details of the settlement involving a dozen big banks accused of conspiring to rig prices and restrict competition in the credit default swaps market have been released. According to papers filed in federal court in Manhattan last week, the following firms will collectively pay nearly $1.9 billion:

· JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): $595M

· Morgan Stanley (MS): $230M

· Barclays Plc (BARC): $178M

· Goldman Sachs (GS): $164M

· Credit Suisse (CS): $159M

· Bank of America Corp. (BAC): $90M

· Deutsche Bank (DB): $120M

· BNP Paribas (BNP): $89M

· Citigroup (C): $60M

· Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS): $33M

· HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBC): $25M

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UBS Fund Advisor LLC and UBS Willow Management LLC will pay $17.5M, including $13 million to investors that were hurt to resolve Securities and Exchange Commission charges accusing them of failing to disclose that there was a change in an investment strategy involving closed-end fund UBS Willow Fund LLC. The two UBS (UBS) advisory firms have advised the fund.

The SEC contends that from 2000 through 2008, UBS Willow Management – which was a joint venture between an outside portfolio manager and UBS Fund Advisor – invested the assets of the Willow Fund in line with the strategy discussed in marketing collateral and offering documents. However, according to the regulator’s order that instituted a settled administrative proceeding, in 2008, the fund advisor changed tactics and went from focusing on investments in debt put out by beleaguered companies to buying big amounts of credit default swaps.

The Willow fund started to sustain huge losses because of the credit default swaps, which went from 2.6% of the fund’s market value in ’08 to over 25% by March ’09. The fund was eventually liquidated three years later.

The SEC says that UBS Willow Management failed to notify its board of directors or the fund’s investors that the investment strategy had changed. For a time, a marketing brochure given to prospective investors misstated the strategy of the fund, and letters to investors included misleading or false information about credit default swap exposure.
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In U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Danish pension funds (and their investment manager) Unipension Fondsmaeglerselskab, MP Pension-Pensionskassen for Magistre & Psykologer, Arkitekternes Pensionskasse, and Pensionskassen for Jordbrugsakademikere & Dyrlaeger are suing 12 banks accusing them of conspiring to take charge of access and pricing in the credit derivatives markets. They are claiming antitrust violations while contending that the defendants acted unreasonably to hold back competitors in the credit default swaps market.

The funds believe that the harm suffered by investors as a result was “tens of billions of dollars” worth. They want monetary damages and injunctive relief.

According to the Danish pension funds’ credit default swaps case, the defendants inflated profits by taking control of intellectual property rights in the CDS market, blocking would-be exchanges’ entry, and limiting client access to credit-default-swaps prices, and

Ex-Commission Officials, Others Want DC Circuit to Grant Stanford Ponzi Scam Victims SIPC Protection

Former SEC Officials, law professors, and trade groups are among those pressing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reject the regulator’s bid to compel Securities Investor Protection Corporation coverage for the investors who were bilked in R. Allen Stanford’s $7 billion Ponzi scam. Inclusion under the Securities Investor Protection Act would allow the fraud victims to obtain reimbursement for losses.

However, SIPC, which is a federally mandated non-profit corporation, doesn’t believe that the Stanford investors, who purchased certificates of deposit from Stanford International Bank Ltd. in Antigua, fall under this protection. Following a failure to act on the SEC’s request to initiate liquidation proceedings for brokerage firm Stanford Group Co., the regulator asked the court for a novel order that would make the organization comply.

Our securities fraud lawyers would like to remind you that if you want to opt out of the $100M class action settlement with Oppenheimer Mutual Funds you have to do so by August 31, 2011. OppenheimerFunds Inc. agreed to pay that amount over accusations that it mismanaged its Oppenheimer Champion Fund (OCHBX, OPCHX and OCHCX) and its Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund (OPIGX). The class action was filed by investors accusing OppenheimerFunds of misrepresenting in its offering documents the degree of risk involved in complex securitized instruments, including mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps.

Under the class action agreement, Champion Fund investors are to be paid $52.5 million. Core Bond investors are to receive $47.5 million. While this amount may seem like a lot, with thousands of class action claimants, Core Bund Fund investors will likely receive approximately 12 cents on the dollar, while Champion Fund investors will receive about 3 cents on the dollar.

This is not a lot of money for your losses, which is why you may want to seriously consider opting out of the class action and pursuing your own securities lawsuit or arbitration claim. Please contact our stockbroker fraud law firm today and ask for your free case evaluation.

You have until August 31, 2011 to send a written exclusion to the class counsel. Your letter cannot be postmarked after the deadline. Failure to opt out will prevent you from filing your own case at a later today. You should, however, get your share of the settlement.

OppenheimerFunds is a Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company subsidiary. Defendants of the class action were charged with violating the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Securities Act of 1933.

The Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund lost at least 33% of its value in 2008. During the first three months of 2009 it lost another 10%. The bond was promoted as appropriate for and offered by a number of 529 college savings plans, a number of annuities, and retirement plans. The Champion Fund lost about 80% of its value in 2008.

While staying part of a class action in a securities case may appear to be the easy way to recover your investment losses, this is truly not the case. Why should you get back so much left when you’ve lost so much?

By retaining the services of an experienced securities fraud law firm, you increase your chances of recovering the maximum amount possible. We know how devastating it can be to lose money that you have worked so hard for and saved.

OppenheimerFunds Settles Mismanagement Case for $100 Million, Bloomberg Businessweek, July 26, 2011
OppenheimerFunds to pay $100 million to settle mismanagement case, Denver Post, July 27, 2011
More Blog Posts:
Mortgage-Backed Securities Lawsuit Against Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch Now a Class Action Case, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, June 25, 2011
Class Members of Charles Schwab Corporation Securities Litigation Can Still Opt Out to File Individual Securities Claim, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, December 6, 2010
Wells Fargo Settles Mortgage-Backed Securities Class Action Case for $125M, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, July 19, 2011 Continue Reading ›

Morgan Stanley says it may sustain $1.7B in losses over a number of securities fraud cases related to subprime mortgage deals. Citigroup Inc.’s (C.N) Citibank is the plaintiff of the securities lawsuit over the Capmark VI CDO and STACK 2006-1 CDO deals, while there are 15 plaintiffs seeking punitive damages over Cheyne Finance, a structured investment vehicle. Morgan Stanley is also reporting losses over a mortgage-backed security deal involving MBIA Corp.

Our securities fraud attorneys would like you to contact us if you are someone who sustained financial losses in any of these MBS deals with Morgan Stanley. Here are more details about the cases:

• Morgan Stanley says the losses in the Citibank securities fraud lawsuit may be a minimum of $269M over a credit default swap on the Capmark VI CDO deal and another one on the credit default swap involving the STACK 2006-1 CDO deal.

Recently, our stockbroker fraud law firm reported on the $100 million class action settlement that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.’s OppenheimerFunds Inc. has agreed to pay to settle allegations that it did not properly manage its Oppenheimer Core Bond Fund (OPIGX) and Oppenheimer Champion Fund (OCHBX, OPCHX and OCHCX). The securities case was brought by investors who claimed that the offering documents and sales pitches misrepresented the risks involved in credit default swaps (CDS), mortgage-backed securities (MBS), and other complex securitized financial instruments. Instead, they contend that the funds were marketed and sold as high yielding, diversified, and conservative investments.

The Champion Fund would go on to lose about 80% of its value in 2008. (55% was lost just in November of that year.) The Core Bond Fund lost 33%. (Compare that to the rest of its peer group, which lost 5%.) As a result, Champion Fund investors sustained extremely significant financial losses and Core Bond investors also suffered.

The class action settlement distributes the $100 million between the two groups of mutual fund investors. While Core Bond investors will get $47.5 million, Champion investors are slated to receive $52.5 million. The Boards of Trustees for the funds have already given their approval. However, even in settling, OppenheimerFunds is not admitting to any wrongdoing. Its spokesperson has said that the proposed settlement is in the best interests of its Funds’ shareholders.

The securities case accusing Merrill Lynch International alleging breach of contract related to the $18 million credit default swap purchased by DKR Soundshore Oasis Holding Fund Ltd has been reinstated. The Appellate Division (First Department) of the New York Supreme Court rejected the financial firm’s efforts to get the case tossed on the grounds that DKR did not give enough notice of a credit event. The judges were in unanimous agreement that notifying Merrill the event happened was enough and it didn’t matter that the date hadn’t been specified.

DKR bought for ¥1.5 billion (that’s $18 million) the swap from Merrill for insurance against a certain debt obligation of Urban Corp. Per the contract, a credit event would constitute a restructuring of at least ¥1 billion of Urban’s subordinate debt.

In June 2008, DKR told Merrill that Urban had restructured its debt, but the credit default seller said the notice was not valid and refused to issue payment. DKR filed a lawsuit against Merrill claiming breach of contract and other claims. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that DKR did not give the exact date of when the restructuring happened. The lower court agreed.

Now the appellate court, in reversing the ruling, has determined that CDS buys are entitled to “the benefit of every possible favorable inference” and that the contract under dispute did not ask that the notice have the same precision as to how a credit event was defined.

CDS buyers are required to make periodic payments to sellers in return for credit protection against a third party. If that party defaults on its obligation, the buyer tells the seller there has been a credit event and this is supposed to result in payment of the credit protection.

More Blog Posts:
France and Germany Press EU to Ban Naked Short Selling of Stocks and Limit Credit Default Swaps, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, July 8, 2010

The Financial Regulation Reform Act of 2008 Seeks to Regulate Investment-Bank Holding Companies and Credit Default Swaps, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, November 24, 2008

Wisconsin School Districts Sue Royal Bank of Canada and Stifel Nicolaus and Co. in Lawsuit Over Credit Default Swaps, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, October 7, 2008

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According to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chief Operating Operator and President Gary Cohn, the investment firm adamant that the bank did not bet against its own clients. He says that Goldman Sachs purchased protection against a decline in just 1% of mortgage-backed securities it underwrote since late 2006. Former clients, regulators, and members of Congress are accusing Goldman Sachs of designing mortgage-backed securities that would fail and then betting on their failure to purchase credit-default swaps, which pay out when a default occurs.

Cohn testified last month before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. He says that in the wake of the serious allegations, the investment firm has examined the $47 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) and $14.5 billion in collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that the firm underwrote since firm executives began to feel the need to treat the subprime mortgage market with caution in December 2006. He claims that by the end of June 2007, Goldman Sachs held $2.4 billion of bonds from CDOs and $2.4 billion of bonds from RMBS trusts. The investment bank had protection for approximately 1% of the total underwritten. Nearly 60% of the derivatives and bonds in the CDOs were from other institutions.

The hearing was called to probe the relationship between Goldman and American International Group Inc (AIG). The investment bank had purchased CDO protection from the insurer. Billions of dollars in federal funds had allowed AIG to stay in business even though it was facing bankruptcy and a number of the insurer’s counterparties, including Goldman, are believed to have benefited. Cohn has argued that all market participants benefited from the government’s assistance.

Related Web Resources:
Goldman Sachs Shorted 1% of its Mortgage Bonds, CDOs, Cohn Says, Business Week, June 30, 2010
Goldman’s Cohn: Firm Didn’t Drive Down Mortgage-Asset Marks, Bloomberg.com, June 30, 2010
Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission
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