Municipal bond underwriting practices at Bear Stearns are under a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, the company indicated in a regulatory filing Friday. The Chicago branch of Bear Stearns is also being checked out by the U.S. Attorneys office in Illinois and state securities regulators, both of which have served the firm with subpoenas.
While the company did not comment on what regulators are specifically looking for, it may be related to a whistleblower suit filed earlier this year, which prompted questioning as to how Bear Stearns secured a $10 billion bond underwriting assignment in 2003.
This past summer, Bear Stearns also received a Wells notice from the SEC for allegations of possible improper mutual fund trades. While the company has not provided any further details, it did admit that it has been named in 13 class-action lawsuits on behalf of mutual fund shareholders for allowing market timing in its funds.
Regarding the new charges, Bear Stearns also received notices from the office of Illinoiss executive inspector general and the states securities department. The New York-based firm said it is fully cooperating with regulators.