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Category Archives: State Street Bond Funds

State Street Gave Some Investors Preferential Info About Limited Duration Bond

State Street Corporation gave some “preferred” investors key information about its Limited Duration Bond Fund back in 2007, allowing them to jump ship and subsequently avoid millions of dollars in losses. As it turns out, the Limited Duration Bond Fund was almost entirely invested in mortgage-related securities. Investors who were not privy to State Street’s pre-warnings paid the price.

As reported Feb. 4 by the New York Times, State Street’s selective disclosure became public after agreed to pay more than $310 million in penalties and restitution to settle accusations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Massachusetts officials that it misled investors about the risks associated with the Limited Duration Bond Fund and other funds that invested in it.

According to a complaint filed by the SEC, State Street created the Limited Duration Bond Fund in 2002 and marketed it as an alternative to a money-market fund. Five years later, however, the fund was almost entirely invested in mortgage securities. State Street not only misled many investors about the fund’s exposure, but also provided certain investors with more complete information regarding the fund’s investing strategies, the SEC says.

“State Street gave preferential treatment to some investors over others, leaving many investors, including dozens of Massachusetts charities and retirement funds, completely unaware of key facts about the funds,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in a statement.

Investors who received more accurate information from State Street included clients of State Street’s internal advisory groups, which advised some investors in the fund. The advisory groups recommended that their clients, including State Street’s own pension plan, redeem their investments. State Street sold the most liquid holdings to meet these redemptions, according to the SEC. As for the remaining investors, they were left with largely illiquid holdings.

The funds, which were managed by State Street Global Advisors, accounted for about $13 billion of State Street’s funds under management in 2007.

State Street’s settlement will be allocated among about 270 investors who lost money. It includes a $50 million fine and $8 million in forfeited advisory fees and interest. The payment is in addition to $350 million that State Street will pay to settle private claims. The bank also will pay an additional $20 million to settle with Massachusetts authorities.

State Street does not admit or deny the allegations.

Massachusetts Regulator Probes State Street Bond Fund

State Street Corp., the Boston-based financial services firm that has made more than $4oo million in settlements and other payments for problems related to its fixed-income funds, is once again in hot water. This time, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin is investigating whether State Street intentionally misled pension funds and other institutional investors about a bond fund that invested in high-risk derivatives, swaps and subprime-mortgage securities.

As reported April 30 by the Boston Globe, the State Street Limited Duration Bond Fund was supposed to be a way for investors to generate better returns than ultra-safe money market funds, but with only slightly more risk. Instead, the fund invested heavily in risky mortgage-related products, which later plummeted in value when the subprime mortgage market collapsed.

Making matters worse: The State Street Limited Duration Bond Fund was highly leveraged, borrowing money as it made continued investments in mortgage-backed securities. Eventually the strategy created even bigger financial losses for the fund.

State Street is the target of several lawsuits by investors who say the company hid the risks associated with the Limited Duration Bond Fund. On April 8, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, based in Dubuque, Iowa, sued State Street, accusing it of putting their money in subprime mortgage products instead of the more conservative investments State Street’s financial advisors initially had promised. 

The nuns say they have lost more than $1 million of their retirement fund in the Limited Duration Bond Fund.

The Limited Duration Bond Fund is managed by State Street Global Advisors, State Street’s investment arm.

State Street also is at the center of a 2007 lawsuit filed by Prudential Financial, which claims the firm deceived the insurer by investing in products whose returns were linked to high-risk subprime mortgage pools.

William Hunt, CEO of State Street Global Advisors, abruptly resigned from his post in early 2008, just as the company began to face a slew of investor lawsuits relating to State Street’s subprime losses.

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