We are investigating a potential claim against Stifel Financial Corp. and its management and directors. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued broker Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. for fraud, claiming it misled five Wisconsin school districts about the risks of complex investments that wiped out $200 million.
Stifel and David Noack, a former executive, masked the risks in persuading the schools to buy notes tied to synthetic collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, a type of derivative linked to corporate bonds, the SEC said in a complaint brought against the two in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee.
While the schools lost their entire investment, Stifel and Noack, 48, received "significant fees," the agency said in a statement. The districts used $37.3 million of their own cash and borrowed $162.7 million to invest in the securities in 2006, trying to produce earnings to help pay retiree health costs. The SEC said the firm and Noack misled officials about the risks of products typically sold to hedge funds, banks and insurers.
"Stifel and Noack abused their longstanding relationships of trust with the school districts by fraudulently peddling these inappropriate products to them," Elaine Greenberg, head of the SEC's unit that handles municipal bond cases, said in the statement. "They were clearly aware that the school districts could ill afford to bear the risk of catastrophic loss if these investments failed."
Stifel Financial Corp., the broker's St. Louis-based parent, fell $1.86 a share, or 6.5 percent, to $26.74 at 3:03 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading after dropping as much as 19 percent, the most in more than 19 years.
If you are a current shareholder and would like to discuss your options of exercising your rights as a shareholder, which include ensuring that the company is getting the highest possible price for the company, and that the board of directors will act in the best interest of the shareholders, please contact us.
Please submit the following information so we can determine if you qualify for the suit. If you don't know all the specific details, partial information is also acceptable.