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WASHINGTON (October 31, 2003) – NASAA President Ralph A. Lambiase today said state securities regulators are pleased that the Honorable William H. Pauley III, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York, has approved the historic $1.4 billion global settlement of enforcement actions against 10 major Wall Street firms.

“This settlement represents a positive step toward restoring investor confidence and has the potential to change the way business is done on Wall Street,” Lambiase said. “While the global settlement is most important for its impact on Wall Street and investors, it also represents a model for state-federal cooperation that will serve the best interests of investors nationwide.”

The investigation of the Wall Street firms involved the coordination of 35 states. Launched in April 2002, the state investigations continued into November, 2002 at which time, in conjunction with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Stock Exchange, and the National Association of Securities Dealers, a determination was made to pursue the resolution of the cases in a global manner. Each firm investigation included a lead state and a federal counterpart. In December 2002, an agreement in principle was reached with the firms; it took intensive negotiations to reach the final global settlement, which was announced in April 2003.

“While this settlement closes one important chapter in the ongoing effort to rebuild investor confidence, there clearly are other enforcement challenges facing securities regulators, such as the problems that have recently surfaced in the mutual fund industry,” Lambiase said. “We will continue our active role in protecting Main Street investors.”

For More Information:
Bob Webster, Director of Communications