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UBS ARS Investors Consider Legal

Dec. 19, 2008 was when the settlement offer forcing UBS to repurchase auction-rate securities that it sold to investors prior to the collapse of the ARS market in February 2008 officially expired.

For investors who did not participate in the repurchase program, there are still some options available, however. They can continue to hold the illiquid securities until their maturity dates or they can file an arbitration claim to recover access to their funds.

Earlier this summer, state and federal investigations into UBS over sales of auction-rate securities revealed that the Swiss-based firm had misrepresented the securities as cash equivalents to investors. Regulators also discovered that UBS intentionally ramped up its corporate marketing efforts to dump auction-rate securities onto investors so that the company wouldn’t be left holding the bag when the ARS market eventually imploded in February.

In August 2008, in a deal struck with New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and other state regulators, UBS agreed to buy back nearly $20 billion in failed auction-rate securities from investors and pay a fine of $150 million to Massachusetts and New York.

UBS also faces additional allegations that seven of its executives sold approximately $21 million in personal auction rate holdings while continuing to push the instruments to investors.