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Archive for the ‘JP Morgan’ Category

Citigroup, JP Morgan and others pay California $2.3 million in muni investigation

Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and 15 other underwriters reimbursed California $2.3 million last year after a regulatory probe found they used taxpayer funds to pay fees to their lobbyists.

Citigroup, the third-biggest U.S. bank by assets, returned $479,994, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch repaid a combined $456,482 and JPMorgan paid $490,449 for itself and Bear Stearns Cos., which it acquired, according to a spreadsheet California Treasurer Bill Lockyer’s office sent to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The documents were obtained by Bloomberg News through a California Public Records Act request.

The repayments were about 50 percent more than Lockyer had estimated was owed a year ago, when the practice was uncovered in a Finra investigation of the California Public Securities Association, which lobbies state officials for the municipal- bond industry.

Citigroup and JPMorgan Sued by Louisiana Pension Funds

Two Louisiana pension funds filed lawsuitas against Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase in the wake of the subprime fallout and 2008 credit crunch. The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Pension and Relief Fund and the Louisiana Municipal Employees’ Retirement System allegesd that Citigroup and JPMorgan misled investors in more than $29 billion of Citigroup’s securities offerings dating back to May 2006.

The proposed class-action lawsuits also name former Citigroup chairman Charles Prince and more than a dozen underwriters of the securities offerings, including units of Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., UBS AG, Barclays PLC, Deutsche Bank AG and Fortis.

The complaint, which was filed Oct. 1 in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, contends that Citigroup “harmed investors by causing a significant decline in the value of the securities purchased in or traceable to a series of securities offerings.”

The suit also claims that Citigroup failed to disclose its “massive exposure to losses from its mortgage-related assets” and failed to write down the assets to properly reflect their true value.

The success of public pension funds depends on the entities that serve as the steward of the fund’s assets. In a number of instances that are just now coming to light, that work has been severely flawed. Meanwhile, pension fund managers continue to reassure retirees and current employees that their funds are safe and the assets sufficient to pay benefits for several years.

The truth is that it depends on the quality and quantity of the securities contained in the fund’s portfolio, as well as the valuation model used to determine the value of the assets. Many portfolios of large pension funds include a high concentration of hard-to-value and difficult-to-sell assets, including mortgage-related securities and other collateralized pools of debt. These investments do not readily trade on the secondary market. Therefore, the value assigned to them simply does not reflect their actual value.

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