Articles Posted in Charles Schwab

A class-action securities complaint has been filed against Charles Schwab & Co. on behalf of investors that own Schwab Total Bond Market Fund (Nasdaq: SWBLX) shares that were purchased after May 31, 2007. The securities fraud lawsuit accuses Charles Schwab of causing the fund to deviate from its fundamental business objective, which was to track the Lehman Brothers U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, and of violating the California Business & Professions Code.

According to the plaintiffs’ legal representation, the defendant caused investors to suffer financial losses when it started investing in high-risk mortgage backed securities without letting shareholders know. Per the fund’s prospectus, Charles Schwab is supposed to obtain shareholder approval through a vote.

The plaintiffs contend that by investing 25% of the fund’s portfolio assets in high-risk, non-agency collateralized mortgage obligations (CMO’s) and mortgage-backed securities that were not part of Lehman’s US Aggregate Bond Index, Charles Schwab failed to stay true to its stated fundamental investment objective. They claim that this deviation led to tens of millions of dollars in shareholder losses because of the decline in the non-agency mortgage-backed securities value. According to their lawyers, the investors ended up experiencing a negative 12.64% in differential in total return for the fund compared to the Lehman Bros. U.S. Aggregate Bond Index from August 31, 2007 to February 27, 2009.

The investor plaintiffs are seeking restitution for all class members and for the return of management and other associated fees collected after the fund’s alleged deviation from its fundamental business objective.

Related Web Resources:
Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Charles Schwab & Co., Star Global Tribune, September 7, 2010
Plaintiffs charge Total Bond Market Fund deviated from stated investment strategy, Investment News, September 7, 2010

Related Blog Stories Resources:
Schwab Must Pay SSEK Client $604,094 Over California Yield Plus Fund Investments, Says FINRA Arbitration Panel,, April 22, 2010
Securities Law Firm Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP Investigates Investor Claims Related to Short Term Bond Funds,, August 9, 2008 Continue Reading ›

Our stockbroker fraud law firm is happy to announce that a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel has awarded one of our clients her entire principal loss of $604,094 for her securities fraud claim related to the Schwab California Tax-Free Yield Plus Fund. The award is not part of Schwab’s $200 million class action settlement.

Like Schwab’s Yield Plus fund, SWYCX was marketed as an ultra short-term bond fund and an alterative to money market holdings or cash. In fact, not only were the securities illiquid, hard to value, untested, thinly traded, and highly vulnerable to market changes, but the fund was exposed to variable-rate bonds that were pegged to the London Interbank Offering Rate.

Phone conversations recorded by Schwab with our client confirm the investor’s desire for safety of principal for her assets. During such exchanges, Schwab represented SWYCX as a better investment to Treasuries and Money Market and told the client that instead of holding such a large position in money market or cash for an extended time period it was better to place “cash” investments in the Yield Plus fund. Our securities fraud lawyers have other Schwab clients that were offered similar representations.

Charles Schwab Corp. doesn’t want the Securities and Exchange Commission to file securities claims over the YieldPlus mutual fund. Schwab contends that it never misrepresented the fund when it compared it to money market funds. The brokerage firm also says that it did not mislead investors, give certain ones more information than others, or let other Schwab funds cause financial harm to Charles Schwab YieldPlus Funds investors.

While the SEC has yet to file YieldPlus-related claims against Schwab, it did send the brokerage firm a Wells notice last year notifying that it may sue. Schwab had switched about half of its assets in the YieldPlus fund into mortgage-backed securities without shareholder approval. Following the housing market collapse, what was once the largest short-term bond fund in the world fund, with $13.5 million in assets in 2007, lost 35% before dividends. As of February 28, Bloomberg data shows that the mutual fund had $184 million in assets.

Even though the Investment Company Act of 1940, Section 13(a) states that a shareholder vote must take place before a company can do other than what its policies allow when it comes to which industries investments can be concentrated in, Schwab says it didn’t need approval because although the fund changed how mortgage-backed securities were categorized, it did not change its fundamental concentration policy.

Charles Schwab Corp. has received a Wells notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission about possible civil charges related to the discount brokerage’s Schwab Total Bond Market Fund and Schwab YieldPlus Fund. Schwab has been the target of regulatory investigations over the two funds and is a defendant in a number of civil lawsuits.

SEC staff members plan on recommending civil charges against a number of Schwab affiliates over possible securities violations. The Wells notice is not a finding of wrongdoing or a formal allegation. It does, however, give Schwab an opportunity to respond before the SEC makes a decision on whether to move forward with an enforcement action. The discount brokerage says the possible charges are unwarranted.

In San Francisco, Schwab is defending itself against a class-action fraud lawsuit in federal district court. YieldPlus fund investors are accusing the brokerage firm of failing to fully disclose the risks connected with some securities in the Schwab funds.

SSEK law firm, which specializes in investor claims, is investigating compliants over the liquidity and security of so-called “ultra-short term” bond funds. Because these funds were sold as cash alternatives, any loss of principal is not acceptable. Recently, investors have experienced subtantial losses on a number of these funds, including:

SSgA (STATE STREET) Yield Plus Fund: Investors have accused this fund of violating Federal Securities laws. Usually considered a diversified portfolio with high quality credit and debt securities, and “sophisticated credit analysis” and decisions made by a team of investment professionals, the Fund was actually heavily invested in high-risk mortgage-related securities and mortgage backed securities.

Fidelity Ultra-Short Bond Fund: Investors claim that they were told the fund’s goal was to seek a high level of current income that was in line with preserving capital. The plaintiffs’ litigation, however, allege that such statements were misleading and false because the fund failed to properly disclose that it was heavily invested in high risk mortgage-backed securities.

Evergreen Ultra Short Bond Fund: According to recent litigation, investors bought shares because they were told that the fund’s investment goal was to “provide current income consistent with the preservation of capital and low principal fluctuation.” Statements such as these are now being called misleading and materially false because the fund used a high-risk strategy (which it did not reveal to investors) that resulted in realized losses of about 18%.

Charles Schwab YieldPlus Funds — Schwab YieldPlus Select, Schwab California Tax Free YieldPlus, Schwab YieldPlus: Charles Schwab has been accused of violating industry regulations and state securities laws when it allegedly mislead investors about the fund’s underlying risks. All three Schwab funds’ losses have been magnified by mass redemptions.

Oppenheimer Rochester National Municipals: Although not technically an ultra short term bond fund, this high-yield municipal bond can experience short-term volatility. These kinds of bonds are thinly traded and investors could suffer when the bonds are sold into an unreceptive marketplace.

Related Web Resources:

Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP Investigate Short Term Bond Funds,
Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LTD LLP
Continue Reading ›

Charles Schwab & Co. has recently been barraged with FINRA arbitration claims filed by investors alleging that the firm violated industry regulations and state securities laws. In their complaints, investors are accusing Charles Schwab of misleading them about the risks associated with certain mutual funds, including the degree to which the funds were exposed to the hazards of the sub-prime mortgage market. They say that rather than diversify the investments, the brokerage firm over-concentrated them in securities tied to the mortgage industry.

The claims cite numerous omissions and misrepresentations in mutual funds that the brokerage firm had underwritten, including those involving Schwab YieldPlus Funds Investor Shares (SWYPX) and the Schwab YieldPlus Fund Select Shares (SWYSX). The funds have undergone major losses recently, and investors claim these losses were not brought about by market events, but, rather, due to mismanagement by Schwab fund managers, including its failure to disclose key information to investors.

Investors say that in addition to Schwab’s alleged failure to diversify its fund assets, the brokerage firm also failed to reveal that Schwab’s leading broker-dealers issued most of the bonds that the funds held, there was no primary market for the majority of the bonds, and the firm’s credit and market analyst did not have the experience to evaluate the value and risk of mortgage backed securities.

After sale if its U.S. Trust subsidiary to Bank of America for $3.3 billion, Charles Schwab Corporation has decided to distribute even more than the proceeds of that sale to its shareholders by buying back shares and paying a special dividend.

Under the plan, San Francisco-based Schwab will pay up to $22.50 per share for 84 million shares of its own stock — 10 percent above the previous closing price. It will guarantee selling stockholders at least $19.50 per share, and also purchase up to 18 million additional shares from its founder. Charles Schwab will himslef receive over $400 million and will maintain his stake at its current level of 18%, which would be valued at over $4.5 billion.

The auction, which covers about 7 percent of Schwab’s outstanding shares has already begun and is to be completed by July 31. In addition to $2.3 billion to buy the stock, in August Schwab will also pay $1.2 billion to shareholders through a $1 per share special dividend.

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