On September 19, 2008 (the “Commencement Date”), the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) filed a Complaint and Application seeking a protective decree as to Lehman Brothers Inc. (“Lehman”) under the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 (15 U.S.C. § 78aaa et seq.) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. See Case No. 08-civ-8119 (GEL).
The SIPC is the U.S. investor’s first line of defense in the event a brokerage firm fails, owing customer cash and securities that are missing from customer accounts. SIPC either acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee in a brokerage insolvency case to recover funds. The statute that created SIPC provides that customers of a failed brokerage firm receive all non-negotiable securities – such as stocks or bonds — that are already registered in their names or in the process of being registered. At the same time, funds from the SIPC reserve are available to satisfy the remaining claims of each customer up to a maximum of $500,000. This figure includes a maximum of $100,000 on claims for cash.
On September 20, 2008, the SIPC issued the following statement in relation to Lehman Brothers Inc. (LBI), a SIPC member:
SIPC President Stephen Harbeck said: “I am pleased to be able to report this morning that SIPC’s timely intervention under the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) to initiate an action placing LBI in liquidation yesterday has reached a successful conclusion. The result is a situation where 630,000 Lehman Brothers Inc. customers should have full access to their accounts in very short order. We have striven to be innovative and flexible in working with all parties to achieve what will be the fastest-ever restoration of customer accounts in the history of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
The District Court in New York acted on the SIPC liquidation filing. The matter then proceeded immediately to Bankruptcy Court in a marathon session running from 4 p.m. yesterday to 1 a.m. today. Under the resulting asset purchase agreement, Barclays Capital Inc. (BCI) will acquire many of the business assets of LBI. Customer accounts will be transferred either to BCI or a separate trading platform. In both situations, customers are expected to have access to their accounts as promptly as is practicable.
For further information about Lehman brothers and you options for recovering losses in Lehman accounts for due to Lehman products, please contact our offices. Thank you.