WASHINGTON, D.C. January 18, 2012 — The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) today announced that a toll-free hotline and website have been established to assist investors who purchased auction rate securities (ARS) through E*TRADE Securities LLC.
State securities regulators and E*TRADE reached a settlement in October 2011 calling for the return of approximately $100 million to the firm’s clients who have had their funds frozen in the ARS market since 2008. The firm also will pay a $5 million fine.
As part of the settlement with state securities regulators, the New York-based firm also agreed to maintain a dedicated toll-free telephone assistance line, website and email address to provide information about the terms of the final order and to answer questions from investors.
The toll-free hotline can be reached at 1-888-296-0880, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time. Information also is available online at www.ETradeARSBuyIn.com.
Investors may also contact the firm’s ARS Administrator by mail at the following address: E*TRADE Financial ARS Administrator, P.O. Box 9829, Dublin, Ohio43017-5729and by e-mail at: Info@ETradeARSBuyIn.com.
The settlement with E*TRADE is the result of a multi-state investigation led by the Colorado Division of Securities and was part of a state-led effort to address problems in connection with the offer and sale of ARS securities. Since the ARS market collapsed four years ago, state securities regulators have secured settlements calling for a number of prominent financial firms to repurchase from investors more than $61 billion in auction rate securities, the largest return of funds to investors in history.
“These settlements demonstrate the collaborative approach state securities regulators take to resolve problems facing investors nationwide,” said Jack E. Herstein, NASAA President and Assistant Director of the Nebraska Department of Banking & Finance Bureau of Securities.
NASAA is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. Its membership consists of the securities administrators in the 50 states, theDistrict of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, andMexico.