Secretary of State Galvin signed an Agreement with UBS in early October 2008 under which UBS would buy back Auction Rate Securities (ARS) from many who held them and have been unable to sell them since the auctions propped-up by UBS and other companies were left to fail last February.
A quick explanation of ARS – while those of us who invested in them are generally conservative investors and were sold “a bill of good,” we thought they were essentially money markets but with a little higher return because they invested in Massachusetts so there were tax savings. Interest wasn’t high, so there were no hints that this was anything other than a safe, conservative investment. It turned out to be anything but that, and holders have not been able to redeem them since Feb. 2008.
Unfortunately, Galvin’s Agreement with UBS excluded many innocent individual holders, including me (see NYT Article from Nov. 30, 2007 that describes my situation – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11… Since I learned that I’d been excluded, only because I moved my account to another brokerage firm when my UBS broker moved, I’ve been trying to get some relief from the Secretary, to no avail. I’ve been in touch with one of the attorneys in his office, to no avail. I’ve explained that, even though the Secretary may have been TRYING to exclude those of us who moved brokerages, the actual words in the Agreement don’t succeed in doing that. I’ve even tried to convince AG Coakley to file a 93A action on our behalf (which she has clear authority to do) — all I received back from her office was a note that I should talk to Galvin — and not even from her, but from an assistant. I don’t even know whether she read my letter. Attempts by the AG to say that because Galvin settled with UBS she has no authority would be false, as the Agreement only binds the Securities Division.
I live in Brookline, and my state rep., Frank Smizik, has been trying to help me get an audience with someone from Galvin’s office, so far to no avail. I’ve also been in touch with Barney Frank’s office, and I hope to be speaking with him soon.
If any of you know of others who have been victimized in this way can you let them know that we have to organize? It would be great to have a group of us from around the state meet with Galvin and emphasize the huge injustice that has been perpetrated on Massachusetts residents as a result of his action.
I’d be eager to hear from anyone else who’s interested in this issue. I refuse to let it die. I can’t, as all the money we saved for our sons’ education is gone now, and I need to get it back.