In our next installment of it would be funny if it were not true, the SEC recently has had to sue SIPC to attempt to force SIPC to begin the liquidation of Stanford Group Company.
Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an application with the federal district court in the District of Columbia to compel the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) to file an application to begin a liquidation proceeding with regard to Stanford Group Company (SGC), a broker-dealer registered with the Commission and a SIPC-member brokerage firm.
In February 2009, the Commission brought a civil enforcement action against Robert Allen Stanford, SGC, and others, alleging that they operated a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. As a result of that enforcement action, a federal district court in Texas ordered that SGC be placed into receivership.
On June 15, 2011, the Commission directed SIPC to take steps to initiate a liquidation proceeding with regard to SGC because there were customers in need of the protections of the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 (SIPA). Among other things, SIPA provides for coverage of up to $500,000 to customers of a defunct brokerage firm in the event that funds available at the firm are insufficient to satisfy claims covered by the statute. This coverage is provided from a fund maintained by SIPC.
Despite the Commission’s directive, SIPC has failed to take steps to initiate a liquidation proceeding as to SGC. Accordingly, the Commission filed an application with the district court seeking an order compelling SIPC to do so.