A couple of class-action suits that once threatened to put Securities America out of business are coming to a close.
A Dallas federal judge granted preliminary approval of an $80 million class settlement on May 5. The decision combines two outstanding cases against the independent broker-dealer, Billitteri and McCoy. Investors had sued Securities America over its role in the sale of private placements from Medical Capital and Provident Royalties.
The judge, W. Royal Furgeson, Jr., is expected to ratify the decision after a fairness hearing scheduled for July 25.
“The settlement is in no way an admission of guilt by Securities America or our advisors,” according to an email statement from Natalie Hadley, a spokeswoman at Securities America. “We continue to believe the company, our advisors and their clients were victims of the alleged fraud perpetrated by the management of Medical Capital and Provident Royalties.”
In a hearing last March, Securities America officials had testified that arbitration awards and legal costs from a class action could cripple the firm. Afterward, its parent company Ameriprise Financial stepped in to back a settlement, only to announce in April that it would sell the unit.
News of a sale set off a fresh round of recruiting activity for advisors considering making a move, according to industry sources. Securities America, though, says that advisor retention remains high. “The majority of advisors continue to tell us they are committed to Securities America and plan to wait to evaluate the opportunities a new owner presents,” according to the statement from Hadley.
“The sale gives us the opportunity to find a company where Securities America’s independent, entrepreneurial business culture can grow within the independent broker-dealer space,” Jim Nagengast, chief executive officer and president of Securities America said in a letter to advisors, after the proposed sale was announced in April. “Securities America is financially strong and stable. As the Medical Capital and Provident litigation is put behind us, we expect our excess net capital will remain stable or grow.”
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