After months at the negotiating table with clients who filed arbitration and class action claims against the firm, Securities America is one step closer to getting the OK on a $150 million settlement. Friday, Judge W. Royal Furgeson Jr. of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas gave every indication that he was going to approve the class action settlement, according to Joseph Peiffer, a partner at New Orleans-based Fishman Haygood Phelps Walmsley Willis & Swanson, which is representing SAI clients in arbitrations.
Peiffer expects Furgeson to issue an order of preliminary approval in the next couple days. A hearing for final approval has been set for late July, he said.
Securities America and its parent company Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP) have been embroiled in a legal battle for months with investors who claim SAI sold allegedly fraudulent private placements from Medical Capital Holdings and Provident Royalties. Meanwhile, Ameriprise made an announcement last week that it would sell the IBD. The firm is expected to sell at a discount.
But Peiffer said the settlement would likely be funded and taken care of outside of the sale, so the new owners wouldn’t be affected by any legal liabilities.
“It’s the best deal for everyone in kind of a lousy situation,” he said.
After the judge issues the order for preliminary approval, class notices will be mailed out to investors informing them that they’re part of the class.
While the arbitrations are not part of the class action settlement, it’s important that the class action goes through because of the nature of the settlement, Peiffer said. In other words, the arbitration settlement is contingent on whether the class action is approved.