Articles Posted in HSBC

HSBC will pay a $765M penalty over claims involving its packaging, marketing, and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 economic crisis. According to the US Attorney Bob Troyer, from the beginning HSBC employed a due diligence process that it knew was ineffective, “chose” to place faulty mortgages in deals, and disregarded these problems even as it sold the RMBSs to investors. As a result, contends the US government, investors, including federally-insured financial institutions that bought the HSBC Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities that were backed by faulty loans, sustained “major losses.”

HSBC had touted using a proprietary model that would choose 20% of the riskiest loans for further examination and another 5% that would be randomly chosen. The government, however, claims that the financial firm’s trading desk exerted undue influence on which loans would be securitized and sometimes failed to employ a random sample. Outside vendors then studied the chosen loans.

The US alleges that even when a number of loans were marked as low grade, HSBC “waived” them through or regraded them, and concerns about loans that had defaulted right away were purportedly disregarded. The bank even allegedly continued to buy loans from an originator who was found to likely be providing loans that were fraudulent.

HSBC Securities has agreed to pay $375,000 to settle Financial Industry Regulatory Authority charges that it recommended the unsuitable sale of inverse floating rate collateralized mortgage obligation to retail clients. The SRO is also accusing the investment bank HSBC of inadequate supervision of the suitability of the CMO sales and failure to fully explain the risks involved in CMO investments to clients. The investment bank has already reimbursed clients $320,000.

Per FINRA, six HSBC brokers made 43 unsuitable inverse floater sales to “unsophisticated” retail clients. Even though HSBC requires that a supervisor approve all retail clients sales larger than $100,000, 25 of the sales were larger than this amount. 5 resulted in $320,000 in losses for clients. According to FINRA executive vice-president and acting enforcement chief James S. Shorris, the clients’ financial losses could have been prevented.

FINRA contends that HSBC brokers were not given enough training and guidance about the risks involved with CMOs. They also were not specifically told that inverse floaters were only suitable for investors with high-risk profiles.

FINRA also says that HSBC was not in incompliance with a rule requiring brokerage firms to offer specific educational collateral prior to a CMO sale to anyone that is not an institutional investor. FINRA says that not only did HSBC’s registered representatives not know that they were required to offer this material, but also the brochures that were offered did not meet content standards regarding required educational information.

By agreeing to settle, HSBC is not admitting or denying the allegations.
Related Web Resources:
FINRA Fines HSBC $375,000, On Wall Street, August 19, 2010
FINRA fines HSBC for unsuitable sales of CMOs, Banking Business Review, August 20, 2010

Collateralized mortgage obligation, SEC Continue Reading ›

The New York Stock Exchange Regulation Inc. is disciplining nine companies and eight people for numerous violation. The firms disciplined include:

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith: Fined $100,000 for violating rule 123c about 480 times when it cancelled or submitted securities orders after the mandatory cutoff period.

Citigroup Global markets Inc: Find $300,000-half of this to be payed to NASDAQ; the other half to be paid to NYSE. The firm made inaccurate reports about short interest positions in securities that were listed on the NYSE.

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