Investigations

Zamansky Investigates Merrill Lynch NextGen 529 Plans

Zamansky LLC announces that it is investigating overcharges in foreign exchange transactions. Recently, large Wall Street custodian bank’s practices in handling foreign exchange (”Forex”) transactions have come under scrutiny. Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE:BK) has been accused by the states of Virginia and Florida of failing to provide them with the best possible prices while making foreign currency trades for their respective state pension funds. The two states filed a lawsuit against BNY Mellon for overcharging the pension funds – Florida Retirement System Trust Fund and Virginia Retirement System – on foreign currency transactions. Virginia, in its complaint, accused BNY Mellon of charging the pension fund with the highest price of the trading day instead of the actual interbank rate at which the currencies were actually purchased. The state is seeking a total of nearly $931.6 million (nearly $120 million in damages and $11,000 in fines for each of 73,784 falsely reported executed trades) from the company as compensation.

Similarly, in 2009, the state of California had alleged that State Street Corp. (NYSE:STT) had improperly priced foreign exchange for California pension funds. In February 2011, the Arkansas Teachers Retirement System filed a class action complaint against State Street alleging undisclosed overcharges on foreign exchange transactions. In October of 2010, Washington State revealed it had recovered $11.7 million from State Street over foreign exchange trade costs during a 10-year period.

Harry Markopolos, an independent financial fraud investigator and the subject of a film, “Chasing Madoff,” told CNBC “State Street and Bank of New York each stole billions of dollars from pension funds around the country, three-tenths of one percent off every transaction,” he said. With $4.7 trillion in foreign exchange trades every day, no government regulatory oversight and everything over the counter, forex is “a perfect recipe for fraud,” he said.

Markopolos said he bases his assertions on the math: “The investment managers were saying they’re reporting this much and the pension funds were saying we’re receiving this much. The gap should’ve only been fees but there was something extra missing, 30 basis points for currency overcharges.”

For an evaluation of whether you were the victim of Forex overcharges, please contact Jake Zamansky at 212 742-1414 or jake@zamansky.com. Zamansky LLC is a leading securities class action and arbitration firm which represents institutional and high net worth investors.

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