Archive for September, 2009:

Obama Administration Continues Push for Regulatory Reform

Written on September 24th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

“A nation that forgets its past is doomed to repeat it.” — Winston Churchill

On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, several major media outlets published articles discussing the Obama administration’s continued efforts to enact enhanced regulatory reform over the financial markets.

Given what has occurred over the past two years, enhanced regulation is absolutely necessary. As Paul Krugman noted in a New York Times Op-Ed article: “In the grim period that followed Lehman [Brothers’] failure, it seemed inconceivable that bankers would, just a few months later, be going right back to the practices that brought the world’s financial system to the edge of collapse.” However, that is exactly what is happening. While the rest of America continues to struggle with job losses, foreclosures, and the effect that the downturn had on their investment portfolios, Wall Street is again promoting the very investments that caused the problem — and business appears to be good.

For example, in a recent article on Bloomberg.com, Abigail Moses and Shannon D. Harrington stated that “A year after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., credit-default swaps have lost their stigma for disaster and are contributing to the growing confidence in the credit markets.” Have we already forgotten Lehman Brothers and AIG and the problems that CDS created? It appears that we have. In a recent article, Greg Burns of the Chicago Tribune noted that credit default swap reform has “fizzled.”

The only reason that all this appears to have been forgotten is due to the recent “recovery” in the stock market. As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stated yesterday in his remarks before Congress:

Make no mistake, the flaws in our financial system and regulatory framework that allowed this crisis to occur, and in many ways helped cause it, are still in place . . . . We may disagree over details over how to best fix those flaws, but that cannot mean we do not act.

It seems to me that the Treasury Secretary is someone we should be listening to, and not Wall Street or others with a similar agenda. Let us not forget our past.

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JP Morgan Returns More Than $28 Million to Missouri Auction Rate Securities Investors

Written on September 23rd, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

On September 21, 2009, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced that her office had finalized a consent order with JP Morgan Chase & Co. related to the firm’s marketing and sale of auction rate securities (ARS) to Missouri investors.

According to the press release, Missouri investors will receive more than $28 million. In addition, JP Morgan will pay $86,000 to the Missouri Investor Education and Protection Fund, which is used to educate Missourians about potential investment fraud and other fraudulent schemes.

JP Morgan, like many of the other investment firms across the country marketed auction rate securities as “safe,” “liquid,” and “same as cash,” when, in fact, the investments were subject to the willingness of many of the same firms to provide the necessary liquidity to sustain the auction rate securities market. As these firms’ liquidity began to diminish in late 2007 and early 2008, they became unable to support the market with the necessary liquidity. As a result, in mid-February 2008, the auctions failed and investors were stuck holding long-term and perpetual investments that paid short-term interest rates.

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors in securities arbitration and litigation. If you were sold Auction Rate Securities and your positions have not been redeemed or repurchased, you should contact an attorney to discuss your rights. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like additional information.

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