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Archive for May, 2010

Wedbush Morgan broker Bambi Holzer’s Sale of Private Placements Including Provident Royalties Comes Under Fire

A broker whose employment record is littered with customer complaints over variable annuities is now the focus of investor lawsuits over highly illiquid and risky private-placement investments.

The broker, Bambi Holzer, has 42 settled customer disputes, according to information posted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. Four other disputes against her are currently pending, including one $200,000 investor claim based on selling private placements.

Ms. Holzer is currently a registered rep affiliated with two firms: Wedbush Morgan Securities Inc. and Sequoia Equities Securities Corp.

Variable annuities and private placements are high-commission products. Regulators this year and last have been combing the records of broker-dealers that sold private placements.

Last summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Provident with fraud. The firm allegedly sold $485 million in private securities to investors. This month Finra expelled Provident Asset Management LLC, the broker-dealer arm of the Provident operation.

Provident marketed a series of fraudulent private placements through Provident Royalties in a massive Ponzi scheme, Finra said.

Subprime Related Subpoenas From SEC Recieved By Citi

In Friday’s quarterly filing with regulators, the New York-based megabank says for the first time that it has received subprime-related subpoenas from the SEC.

Citi’s filing said (on page 176) that it “continues to cooperate fully in response to subpoenas and requests for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission and other government agencies in connection with various formal and informal inquiries concerning Citigroup’s subprime mortgage-related conduct and business activities.”

Not that this comes as a great shock. Citi has disclosed before that its actions in the subprime mess and the larger credit crisis are the subject of legal interest from all angles. The firm spent the better part of two pages (at pages 263-265) in its annual regulatory filing detailing the scrutiny it faces from regulators, federal agencies, and plaintiff’s lawyers.

“Beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007, certain of Citigroup’s regulators and other state and federal government agencies commenced formal and informal investigations and inquiries, and issued subpoenas and requested information, concerning Citigroup’s subprime mortgage-related conduct and business activities,” the firm said then. “Citigroup is involved in discussions with certain of its regulators to resolve certain of these matters.”

Friday’s filing adds to the year-end filing in one way: in this one, Citi mentions the SEC by name.

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