Thursday, April 7, 2011

Contested Pricings List

The capacity for price manipulation or price inflation presents a major challenge for the market to overcome, especially in the illiquid markets where live trading data are seldom made available to the general public. Like "ratings shopping," investors may be incentivized towards seeking the highest price, or most accomodating price provider, for their securities.

We will continue to maintain this growing database of situations in which parties disagree as to the prices used, or pricing practices employed.

  1. July 2016: LendingClub Fund Has Its Version of June Swoon: "LendingClub also said in the filing that LC Advisors hadn't followed standard accounting rules when it was determining the value of the loans in its portfolio as well as their monthly returns. Investors affected by the adjustments would be reimbursed around $800,000,...."

  2. June 2016: CMBS Servicers Sued in Fair-Value Option Case for 'Flawed' Appraisal: An investor in a 2007 CMBS transaction has sued the deal's master and special servicers, arguing that they breached their obligations under the deal's pooling and servicing agreement when they allowed a collateral $84.8 million loan to be sold using a fair-value purchase option.  

  3. June 2016: ASIC calls on directors to apply realism and clarity to financial reports. "ASIC continues to find impairment calculations based on unrealistic cash flows and assumptions, as well as material mismatches between the cash flows used and the assets being tested for impairment.... Fair values attributed to financial assets should also be based on appropriate models, assumptions and inputs."

  4. May 2016: Banks Sued by Investor Over Agency-Bond Rigging Claims. "The lawsuit... accuses traders of colluding with one another to fix prices at which they bought and sold SSA bonds in the secondary market. It adds the threat of possible triple damages available under U.S. antitrust law for investors harmed by any illegal price-fixing."

  5. March 2016: A $7 billion hedge fund says it's being investigated by the SEC and the US Department of Justice: "They have requested information from several years ago regarding the valuation of certain securities in the firm's credit fund which was closed in 2013,..."

  6. Feb. 2016: Loan Valuations Draw Scrutiny: Some firms are marking down securities faster than others

  7. Nov. 2015: Regulators Look Into Mutual Funds’ Procedures for Valuing Startups
     
  8. Sept. 2015: Canadian Pension Fund Says It Was Cheated By Boaz Weinstein's Saba Capital

  9. May 2015: Alleged Fund Fraud Exposes Cracks in Securities Pricing: “The trustees have determined that the valuation of the fund’s assets may not be reliable,” the board wrote in a letter to shareholders after [manager] Thibeault’s arrest that month.

  10. May 2015: We Tried to Re-Create JPMorgan’s Mutual Fund Returns and Gave Up: The bank’s impressive mutual-fund-group performance figures come with little explanation

  11. Sept. 2014: SEC Finds Deficiencies at Hedge Funds: Shortcomings Include Valuation 'Flip Flopping'

  12. Sept. 2014: Pimco ETF Draws Probe by SEC: Regulators Are Probing Whether Returns Were Artificially Inflated

  13. Aug. 2014: FINRA Fines Citigroup Global Markets: "Citigroup priced more than 7,200 customer transactions inferior to the NBBO because the firm's proprietary BondsDirect order execution system (BondsDirect) used a faulty pricing logic"

  14. Feb. 2014: SEC Looking at How Alternative Funds Value Investments

  15. Feb. 2014: Danske Bank Faces Broader Probe of Bond Price Fixing in 2009: "The trades, conducted in February and March 2009, raised mortgage bond prices in a way that “harmed customers at Realkredit Danmark A/S,” Danske’s home-loan unit, the crime squad said."

  16. Jan. 2014: Federal Probe Targets Banks Over Bonds: Inquiry Looks for Deliberate Mispricing of Mortgage Bonds Key to Financial Crisis

  17. Dec. 2013: SEC charged a London-based hedge fund adviser GLG Partners with internal controls failures that led to the overvaluation of a fund’s assets and inflated fee revenue for the firms.  

  18. Aug. 2013: 2 more targeted in JPMorgan's London Whale case: "Prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in the Southern District said Martin-Artajo and Grout manipulated and inflated the value of position marks in the Synthetic Credit Portfolio, or SCP, which the government said had been very profitable for the bank's chief investment office."

  19. Dec. 2012: Deutsche hid up to $12bn losses, say staff

  20. Nov. 2012: KCAP fund, execs settle charges of overstating assets.

  21. Oct. 2012: SEC Charges Formerly $1 Billion Yorkville Advisors Hedge Fund With Fraud and Bogus Valuations

  22. May 2012: FINRA Fines Citigroup Global Markets $3.5 Million for Providing Inaccurate Performance Data Related to Subprime Securitizations: "Citigroup failed to supervise mortgage-backed securities pricing because it lacked procedures to verify the pricing of these securities and did not sufficiently document the steps taken to assess the reasonableness of traders' prices."

  23. May 2012: JPMorgan CIO Swaps Pricing Said To Differ From Bank

  24. May 2012: Ex-UBS Trader Sues After Firing for Mispricing Securities

  25. Feb. 2012: SEC Looking Into PE Firms’ Valuation of Assets

  26. Feb. 2012: Massachusetts Subpoenas Bank of America Over CLOs: examining whether Bank of America knowingly overvalued the assets in the portfolios in order to get the loans off its books

  27. Feb. 2012: Ex-Credit Suisse traders face US charges: Case relates to alleged CDO mispricing

  28. Jan. 2012: SEC Charges UBS Global Asset Management for Pricing Violations in Mutual Fund Portfolios)

  29. Dec. 2011: SEC Charges Multiple Hedge Fund Managers with Fraud in Inquiry Targeting Suspicious Investment Returns 

  30. Nov. 2011: PwC and KPMG criticised over audits (of their clients' valuations of mortgage-related securities)

  31. Oct. 2011: Oversight board faults Deloitte audits

  32. July 2011: Polygon Faces Accusations It Used Tetragon For Cash

  33. April 2011: Report says Goldman duped clients on CDO prices

  34. April 2011: Wachovia cheated investors by inflating markups, SEC says

  35. March 2011: Buffett’s Berkshire Questioned on Accounting

  36. Feb. 2011: What Vikram Pandit Knew, and When He Knew It

  37. Feb. 2011: Mutual Funds' Muni-Debt Prices Are Questioned

  38. Oct. 2010: SEC Continues Crackdown on Overvaluations of Hedge Fund Assets

  39. Aug. 2010: Merrill's Risk Disclosure Dodges Are Unearthed

  40. May 2010: HK watchdog slaps fine on Merrill units

  41. April 2010: Legal Woes for Regions Financial

  42. Nov. 2009: Ambac Misstates Financials to Meet Minimums

  43. July 2009: Under Fire, NIR Group Switches Valuation Firms

  44. June 2009: Evergreen Pays Over $40 Million to Settle SEC Charges that it Overvalued Mortgage-Backed Investments

  45. April 2009: FHLB Executive Who Left Cites Securities Valuations

  46. Aug. 2008: "Large Number" of Banks Miss-Marked Assets, U.K. Regulator Says

  47. Aug. 2008: Financial Services Authority’s "Dear CEO: Valuation and Product Control" Letter

  48. July 2008: The Subprime Cleanup Intensifies: Did UBS Improperly Book Mortgage Prices? Several Probes Expand

  49. Feb. 2008: IN RE REGIONS MORGAN KEEGAN SECURITIES, DERIVATIVE and ERISA LITIGATION:"(g) The Fund's Board of Directors was not discharging its legal responsibilities with respect to “fair valuation” of the Fund's assets and had abdicated these responsibilities to the Fund's investment advisor, which had an inherent and undisclosed conflict of interest because its compensation was based on the amount at which which the Fund's assets were valued"

  50. Feb. 2008: AIG's bad accounting day

  51. Feb. 2008: OCC Supervisory Letter to Citi (identifies as one of two key concerns "CDO Valuation and Risk Management in the Capital Markets & Banking Group")

  52. Oct. 2007: Ex-RBC trader says colleagues mismarked bonds

  53. Oct. 2007: Pricing Tactics Of Hedge Funds Under Spotlight

  54. Aug. 2007: BNP Paribas halted withdrawals from three investment funds because it couldn't "fairly" value their holdings

  55. Aug. 2007: Goldman Disputes AIG Valuations and Office of Thrift Supervision Instructs AIG to Revisit Modeling Assumptions

  56. Jan. 2006: Deutsche suspends trader over £30 million 'cover-up’

  57. June 2002: An Analysis of Allied Capital:Questions of Valuation Technique

  58. Aug. 1994: Behind the Kidder Scandal: How Profit Was Created on Paper


  59. Let us know if there are any we're missing.

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