Already facing hundreds of arbitration claims and lawsuits over a group of collapsed mutual bond funds, Morgan Keegan & Company is now the subject of Well Notice by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The notice typically signals the likelihood that the SEC could file civil charges in the near future for possible violations of federal securities laws.
As reported July 16 by the Memphis Daily News, Morgan Keegan’s parent company, Regions Financial Corp., disclosed in a regulatory filing on July 15 that its investment subsidiary, Morgan Asset Management and three unidentified employees received a Wells Notice from the SEC last week.
“We knew it was just a matter of time before the SEC and probably other state regulators (brought) the hammer down,” said Indianapolis attorney Mark Maddox, in the Memphis Daily News article. Maddox is one of dozens of attorneys across the country who has won arbitration cases against Morgan Keegan in the past year for investor losses connected to the mutual funds.
The claims against Morgan Keegan involve at least seven bond funds (collectively known as the “RMK Funds”) that the Memphis-based company formerly managed and which plummeted in value because of the underlying investments made by Morgan Keegan. The investments included untested types of subprime mortgage securities, collateral debt obligations (CDOs) and other risky debt instruments. Losses in the funds entailed more than $2 billion between March 31, 2007, and March 31, 2008.
Meanwhile, investors in the RMK funds say Morgan Keegan misrepresented the funds as corporate bonds and preferred stocks, giving them the illusion of diversification and low risk levels.