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pfgbest collapse

PFGBest Collapse

 pfgbest collapse

The intelligent choice of a broker/dealer is extremely important. The latest PFGBest collapse is just another example why. Everybody should evaluate independently the broker’s credentials and performance.
PFGBest Collapse – CHICAGO, July 11 (Reuters)
Peregrine Financial Group, PFGBest’s regulated unit, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday in Chicago after regulators accused it of misappropriating customer funds for more than two years.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which along with industry regulators had given a clean bill of health to dozens of brokers following spot checks in January, alleged that Peregrine Financial Group and its owner, Russell Wasendorf Sr, had defrauded customers and lied to regulators in order to hide a shortfall that now exceeds $200 million.

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PFGBest was not a clearing member of a futures exchange like the CME Group, so oversight for its activity fell to the CFTC and the National Futures Association, a self-regulator for the trillion dollar derivatives markets.
Russell Wasendorf Sr, PFGBest’s founder and chairman, intercepted confidential regulatory documents that were mailed by the NFA to what it believed was U.S. Bank, a person close to the situation told Reuters on Tuesday. Wasendorf forged signatures and fabricated bank balances on the documents and simply mailed them back to Chicago-based NFA, the person said. The scheme apparently began to unravel as the NFA shifted to electronic confirmations.
The CFTC complaint, which relies on many of the details released on Monday by the NFA, the broker’s main regulator, said the bank account that PFG reported was holding $225 million in 1,845 customer accounts actually contained less than $10 million.

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The exact number of accounts that were tied to agricultural futures positions is not yet known. CME grain traders said that significant selling came into the grain markets late Monday and continued overnight, which seemed to be traders closing out positions. PFGBest’s clearing firm, Jefferies & Co, said on Tuesday it had liquidated accounts of PFGBest starting on Monday when the firm missed a margin call, or a request for more funds to hold trading positions.

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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa, July 11 (Reuters) – Employees emptied their desks as a local charity collected food from the cafeteria of failed broker PFGBest’s Iowa offices on Wednesday, most still seeking answers to the expanding scandal that has shaken the industry.

Two days after the attempted suicide of founder and chairman Russell Wasendorf Sr, regulators are piecing together the alleged fraud that caused more than $200 million of the broker’s client funds to vanish — and the cover-up that hid the fact the money was missing for more than two years.
Peregrine Financial Group, the firm’s regulated unit, filed for bankruptcy late on Tuesday, setting off an exodus of employees and howls of outrage over regulators who failed to prevent another broker from tapping into client funds, following in MF Global’s footsteps just eight months later.

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On July 3, the 40-year industry veteran signed over power of attorney to his son, Russell Wasendorf Jr, according to the bankruptcy filing. Wasendorf Sr had also recently agreed to allow regulators to confirm his bank balances electronically, a change that would quickly expose his deceit.
Wasendorf, airlifted to a hospital in Iowa City in critical condition on Monday after being found with a hose pumping exhaust into his car, may soon provide more clues.

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Wasendorf’s family could not be reached by phone nor by visits to their homes in Cedar Falls.
The fallout from PFGBest collapse reverberated across this small, classic Midwestern town of 40,000.


As a new wave of anger washes over an industry that is still nursing the wounds caused by MF Global, employees of the company were initially more shocked than hurt.
“The whole thing was a shock,” said one employee as he drove up to PFGBest’s shining, modern $18 million complex outside of town, a building Wasendorf touted as an example of the “back to the heartland” economic invigoration he celebrated.

Several miles to the south is the central post office where Wasendorf is alleged to have diverted confidential National Futures Association (NFA) documents meant to verify his bank holdings, according to copies of the documents filed with PFGBest’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy late on Tuesday.

A few steps inside the 24-hour lobby, a wall of post office boxes fronted by ornate brass panels includes one marked 706 — the destination, according to the filings, of an NFA request to verify PFGBest’s funds meant to be sent to U.S. Bank, a large regional bank. It is not clear who rented the box.
“Given that we were providing banking services to Peregrine, we are cooperating fully with authorities,” said Tom Joyce, a spokesman for U.S. Bancorp.

Wasendorf intercepted the letter and returned it to the NFA with forged signatures and falsified bank statements, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Instead of the over $200 million that he reported PFG was holding, the account had less than $10 million, according to a lawsuit by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Up to a dozen investigators were in the firm’s Chicago office on Wednesday, an employee said.
Unlike the collapse of MF Global last October, which entered a quickening downward spiral over a period of weeks after bad bets triggered margin calls, PFGBest’s failure was a bolt out of the blue. The Friday before, it had been business as usual.

The Futures Industry Association, an industry body that unlike the NFA has no regulatory duties, said it was “outraged” by the deceit.
The sentiment was widely shared, but some reserved the harshest words for regulators, including the NFA, for having failed to spot more than two years of trickery.
“While an individual bent on fraud can confound even the most sophisticated compliance framework, measures to mitigate the risk of fraud must continue to be vigorously pursued,” it said.

PFGBest Collapse
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