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$7 Million Awarded to Investor in FINRA Auction-rate Securities Dispute

Investors who suffered significant losses as a result of their auction-rate securities investment with Jeffries Group LLC may be able to obtain a recovery via FINRA securities arbitration. Jeffries Group is a subsidiary of Leucadia National Corp., another full-service brokerage firm. Recently, Jeffries was ordered to pay an investor $7 million regarding an auction-rate securities dispute.

In May 2012, a statement of claim was filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority by Saddlebag LLC. The claim alleges that the firm wrongfully invested the client’s assets in illiquid auction-rate securities (ARS). According to securities lawyers, many financial firms sold auction-rate securities as short-term instruments with a highly-liquid nature, much like money market funds.

However, in 2008, the credit crunch resulted in a failure of the ARS market and investors with a piece of the $330 billion market were stuck holding securities that they were unable to sell. Other firms, including Morgan Keegan, have been accused of misleading investors regarding the liquidity risk of auction-rate securities.

Auction-rate securities are tax-exempt, long-term and taxable bonds and their interest rates are connected to the short-term market. Through ARS, issuers can acquire lower short-term rates on long-term financing. Auction-rate securities were marketed as liquid cash alternatives and considered safe before the global credit crunch.

Firms and their registered representatives have an obligation to fully disclose all the risks of a given investment when making recommendations, and those recommendations must be suitable for the individual investor receiving the recommendation. According to Thompson Reuters, leading auction-rate securities underwriters included Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Merrill, RBC and Wachovia.

If illiquid investments were unsuitable for you given your age, investment objectives and risk tolerance and you suffered significant losses in the auction-rate securities market, you may have a valid securities arbitration claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a stock fraud lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or by e-mail at for a no-cost, confidential consultation.


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