Investors who purchased preferred shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stock continue to lament their decision. In 2007 and 2008, investment firms like UBS, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and others sold billions of dollars in various series of preferred stock issued by the two mortgage giants. According to investors, however, the brokerages never revealed key information about the preferred shares and the ticking time bomb they represented.
Specifically, investors allege they never knew about the rapidly deteriorating financial health of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – a decline that was largely fueled by the two companies’ voracious appetite for risky lending, excessive leverage and investments in toxic derivative products.
By the time Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issued select series of preferred stock in 2007 and 2008, the damage had been done. Both companies were fading fast financially and desperately needed an immediate infusion of capital. Enter the idea to issue noncumulative preferred stock to investors. Investors were eager to jump on board. After all, the stock came with attractive dividends of about 8%. As for the toxic nature of Fannie and Freddie’s mortgage portfolio, that was something investors now say they were never told.
The brokerage firms that continued to sell preferred securities in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even in the face of the companies’ plummeting financial condition may have had good reason to keep such information under wraps. Why? Because of the profits they made in underwriting fees. As reported in a July 7 article in Forbes titled How Fannie and Freddie Unloaded Their Trash, brokerages took in more than one-third of a billion dollars total in fees between November 2007 and June 2008.
As for investors holding preferred shares in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they saw their investments become essentially worthless with the deepening of the U.S. housing crisis. Finally, in 2008, the federal government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie after the two companies suffered huge loan losses.
A number of investors have since filed arbitration claims against the brokerages that allegedly misrepresented the various series of preferred stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If you are an institutional investor or retail investor and were misled about your investments in Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac preferred shares, we want to hear your story. You may have a viable claim for recovery of your investment losses by filing an individual securities arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Leave a message in the Comment Box below or via the Contact Us form.