Spitzer & BOA

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Trader5287, Sep 7, 2003.

  1. From this morning's New York Times. I can't see why Bank of America isn't a dead man walking on this one. The bank will be indicted by week's end IMO assuming this Stern character has agreed to roll over.

    That, at least, is what Bank of America estimated, according to an internal memo contained in Mr. Spitzer's court filings. Written by a broker who had been cold-calling Eddie Stern in early 2001, the memo describes the Stern clan as "the 11th richest family in NYC," worth about $3 billion. And other internal bank documents made it clear that the bank coveted that rich client for itself.

    To achieve that goal, the bank was willing to accede to requests that the memo concedes were "a bit unorthodox." One of Mr. Stern's requests was that he be allowed to move money rapidly into and out of various mutual funds, a practice called market timing.

    Market timing is not illegal, but it is usually strongly and strictly discouraged by mutual funds because it drives up the funds' costs and lowers their long-term returns. For Mr. Stern, however, they made an exception — without disclosing it to regular mom-and-pop customers, which is why the executives who agreed to this may be in trouble with regulators.

    The bank went a step further — it gave Mr. Stern and his traders access to a computer system that allowed them to keep trading mutual fund shares after the 4 p.m. cutoff time at that day's price, which is illegal according to state and federal securities laws. He later struck an even more generous deal with a Phoenix firm, Security Trust Company, allowing him to trade until 9 p.m.

    According to Mr. Spitzer's complaint, these deals allowed Mr. Stern to act on information released after the market's closing bell, while other investors had to wait until the next day to make their trades.

    That strategy may not have been legal, but it was successful — for a while. Canary Capital Partners, the trading outfit that Mr. Stern named after grandpa's first product, racked up double-digit gains, even as the overall stock market dropped in 2000, 2001 and 2002.