On December 17, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel reportedly sided with an investor against Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. Stock fraud lawyers say the FINRA arbitration panel awarded the investor $1.38 million in settling his complaint related to Morgan Keen proprietary bond funds called the Intermediate Fund. Of the award, $851,000 was for compensatory damages and $400,000 was for other compensation and legal fees.
The claim, which originally requested $4.3 million in relief, was filed in 2010 by Lawrence B. Dale, an investor in the Intermediate Fund. The award stated that Morgan Keegan allegedly “represented to the claimants that the (bond fund) was a safe and conservative investment.” Further allegations by Dale were that the Intermediate Fund “did not match Morgan Keegan’s misrepresentations, failed to disclose material information, misrepresented values, and invested in structured finance and asset-backed securities” that were unsuitable for Dale. The firm also allegedly failed to adequately supervise its employees, according to Dale.
Securities arbitration lawyers say that Morgan Keegan and Regions Financial have been facing many problems because of the Intermediate Fund and its blowup during the financial crisis. This fund was one of a group that saw a significant decline in net asset value in 2007 and 2008, reportedly between 60 and 80 percent. Furthermore, the firm was later charged by regulators with overstating the value of the funds’ mortgage-backed securities. The firm agreed to pay a fine to regulators amounting to $200 million in 2011. In addition, a civil complaint was filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against the funds’ former board members in December. According to this complaint, the board members allegedly failed to properly oversee the managers of the fund.
According to stock fraud lawyers, prior to recommending an investment to a client, brokers and firms are required to perform the necessary due diligence to establish whether the investment is suitable for the client, given their age, investment objectives and risk tolerance. If, like Dale, you were recommended Morgan Keen proprietary bond funds despite the fact that they were unsuitable for you, you may have a valid securities arbitration claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a securities arbitration lawyer at The Law Office of Christopher J. Gray at (866) 966-9598 for a no-cost, confidential consultation.