BOMBSHELL: Damning SEC OIG Audit of SIPC Raises Conflicts of Interest for MF Global Liquidation Trustee James. W. Giddens

EB's picture


While MF Global figurehead, Jon Corzine, has grabbed most of the headlines with respect to MF Global's demise, it is our hope that US Congressman investigating this debacle shine light on the racket that is SIPC--an organization that can appoint a crony insider who is unrestrained by bankruptcy laws on the amount of fees he can rack up.  The looting of the MF Global customer funds by the liquidation trustee, James W. Giddens (who has no experience with a futures broker liquidation, by the way)  must stop and not be allowed to be repeated. -EB

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The SEC Office of Inspector General published  a damning audit of the Securities Investor Protection (SIPC) Activities just this past March.   Yet most everything in it appears to have been ignored.  Prominent among the ongoing grave accountability problems inside SIPC are that Trustee Fees are excessive, with practically no oversight and absolutely no recourse.

From the report:

Liquidations are similar to ordinary bankruptcy cases, it does not provide any limit on the amount of trustee fees in SIPA liquidations, unlike bankruptcy cases. Second, under SIPA, where payments are made out of the SIPC fund, courts have no discretion whatsoever to limit fees that SIPC has recommended for trustees or their counsel. Thus, even if a court finds the amount of fees awarded to the trustee to be excessive, it is required to approve such excessive fees if SIPC determines that the fees are reasonable. We found that in one case, a Southern District of New York bankruptcy judge deemed fees to be awarded to the trustee in a liquidation to be excessive, but found that he had no choice but to approve the fees.

Fees around the LBI liquidation are among those singled out as excessive, regardless the SIPC hired the same trustee for the MF Global, Inc liquidation.

According to the latest published report, the fees paid to the trustee and his counsels processing the Lehman claims for the period from September 2008 to September 2010 (24 months) totaled approximately $108 million. According to the fourth interim fee application, as of September 30, 2010, the entire administrative fees, including fees for accountants, consultants, etc., totaled approximately $420 million.

We hadn’t see anything yet.  October 24th Bloomberg reported that LBH had spent “642 million on its liquidation, with most of the money going for professional and consulting fees. Trustee James Giddens and his law firm, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, have earned about $169 million.”

No reviews of fees and a weak warning

An entire section of the OIG report is dedicated to the problem that “The SEC Does Not Review Fees SIPC Pays to Court-Appointed Trustees on a Periodicor Systematic Basis”

Remember, this is a government sponsored corporation, and in a time of the exploding bankruptcies in the financial sector we discover that there have been no reviews of fees paid to trustees since 2003 — almost a decade.

Disparagingly, the report continues that Unlike Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcies  “with respect to SIPA liquidations, there is no equivalent provision capping fees and, thus, there is no statutory limit on the amount of fees a trustee can earn in a SIPA case.”

This must be repeated:  “no statutory limit on the amount of fees a trustee can earn in a SIPA case.”

So the the report is obliged to make  a number of recommendations to try and deal with excessive fees by Trustees.  But right now, even if SIPC complains (would they ever dare?) or seeks recourse on extreme fees, there is simply nothing a judge can do about it under current SIPC regulations

And with that, the audit report concludes with a weak warning that Congress might be called upon to get abusive conditions under control

The Division of Trading and Markets, in consultation with the Commission, shall determine whether to request that Congress modify the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) to allow bankruptcy judges who preside over SIPA liquidations to assess the reasonableness of administrative fees in cases where administrative fees are paid by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

No Shame

If this is not bleak enough, note that the trustee for both Lehman Brothers and MF Global, Inc. has been also  the SIPC “house lawyer” for decades.  The SIPC is a private corporation and can hire whoever it wants.  A private corporation, albeit with a government charter and vast public responsibility.  The glaring conflicts for a corporation with this degree of accountability to the public, is beyond the pale by any standard of “good governance.”  Gidden’s own public profile reports, “He has been involved with SIPC from the time of its creation in 1970, served as counsel to SIPC in a variety of matters and has served as Trustee or principal counsel in seven major SIPC liquidations,  He has also served as a special funds administrator appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.”  Giddens is a is a member of the SIPC Modernization Task Force.  (Which means he is on the committee charged with things like updating the making of recommendations to Congress on any modifications to the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) to fix things like lack of recourse due to excessive fees!)

Just as example of how a trustee get named by SIPC for the LBI liquidation two days before LBI  filed for bankruptcy on on September 15th, 2008. The SIPC had already decided who would be hired. In a September 13th letter  from Stephen Harbeck, head of SIPC tells the board “The situation is both very fluid and very “non-public”. Should it become necessary to take action, Jim Giddens of Hughes Hubbard and Reed will serve as trustee and counsel.

There is no shame. In March we have a government report on lack of controls, accountability and the problems of Trustees gone wild.  And on October 31st, obviously ignoring the implications of the published audit, the SIPC hands over yet another liquidation to their main man, likely in the same manner of the LBI assignment.  MFG Facts and others continue to ask how is it that the CFTC abdicated their congressional mandate and pushed a Futures Commission Merchant into the jaws of SIPC who then with no competition, no regard of the recent OIG audit, and obviously no debate,  immediately handed it to James W. Giddens of the firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed?

Today Bart Chilton of the CFTC called for an insurance scheme just like SIPC for the futures industry.


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DarthVaderMentor's picture

The real bombshell is the armed financial weapon of mass destruction that BofA has placed in front of its depositors. It's 80 Trillion in combined derivatives. If it crashes, according to the  Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) (Pub.L. 109-8, 119 Stat. 23) the claw backs will make sure that not even the FDIC or SIPC can save the depositors, according the Ken Donglicker of the MarketTicker.

blunderdog's picture

Depositors are senior to debtholders.  Although certainly, the FDIC can't cover deposits of any of the major banks.

(What you suggest sounds like a misunderstanding of bullshit, but there's no way to clarify.)

LouisDega's picture

Bombshells are the latest craze. Everybody and their mothers are doing it. It keeps them clicks going  and funny money coming in. Click click $$$  $$$  Click click $$$  $$$

Sabibaby's picture

Bombshells dropping like we're in Bagdad during Shock and Awe Bitchez!

dumpster's picture

bomb shell lol

then filth keep raising to the surface ..

the whole system is a bombshell moment , 

what is new under the sun . 

the financials are  a complete bomb shell moment ..

what a few hundred million wnen the fed just moved 15 trillion to foreign banks and the insiders .

the bomb shell moment is when some steals as loaf of bread and is put in jail for 10 years



PulauHantu29's picture

Financial Gangbang for MF Clients. Hope someone brings the KY.

non_anon's picture

There's nothing new under the sun

blunderdog's picture

I guess this is what the collapse of paper assets looks like.

Freddie's picture

That MF'er Democrat Bill Clinton was in there looking MF Worldwide at the end to the tune of $50,000 a month.  He should be in jail with the muslim's friend and partner in crime Democrat Jon Corzine.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

I'm always amazed at how you can take the broadest of topics and narrow it to an attack on that muslim in the Whitehouse who attends a Christian church and is likely an atheist or an agnostic.

Why do you limit your scope to this single man? It becomes tiresome and adds little to the dialogue. Your entire world view appears to be that everything is Obama's fault and he should therefore be impeached, freeze dried, shot into the sun in a rocket or teleported into the center of a blackhole.

Freddie you're tenacious, but boring and lack vision and understanding, point yourself towards higher ground and broaden your understanding of our current dilema or you'll find yourself huddling in a corner twitching with nothing to post after the next election.

Obama is not without sin, but Obama is not the problem, he is a symptom.

Open your eyes.

Chuck Walla's picture

Obama is more than a symptom, he is host to a spreading disease of Eurocentric Socialism. Not that he's alone, but he is in a position to really fuck things up and so he is doing. Not all of his own design, but channeling the will of Andy Stern, George Soros and Joe Kennedy.  He is an empty vessel willing to do harm for what he is told he wants.  If he only had had that education people think he got, but then he would have more than one idea of what to do. So far, collectivization and collective salvation are all he's got.  In this, his imitation of Truman as Lenin is getting a bit thin.

blunderdog's picture

Prankster, you give that thing too much attention.  It's probably just an afterthought of an astroturf-bot.

It's amusing, though.  The idea that even the most die-hard partisan willfully-blind Republican supporter could be as stupid as "Freddie" entertains me.

Grinder74's picture

With that logic, Corzine is merely a symptom of MG Global and not the problem.

Obama gets the blame because he is the "leader".  An no, he didn't inherit it.  He CHOSE to circulate and file nominating petitions, he CHOSE to accept campain contributions, he CHOSE to accept the DNC nomination, he CHOSE to campaign against and debate McCain, he CHOSE to accept McCain's consession on Election Day, he CHOSE to take the Oath of Office.

tony bonn's picture

for some reasons i suspected that giddens was a conflicted cunt and now i know....

OutLookingIn's picture

Don't you know that corporations are people?

Enjoying all the protections that the Constitution provides to actual persons?

Someone said recently, that when he see's a corporation sitting in a Texas death row, he will actually believe they are people!

The country has turned upside down. Good is bad, bad is good, honesty is gone, theft is in, corruption is mainstream and square dealing is rare. The change must start at the bottom and work up, because the entire societal strata is rotten to the core.

Like an onion, each layer that is pealed off, discloses a putrid smell that gets worse with each succesive layer pealed! We know where the 'buck' stops - President Truman spelled that out! 

nowhereman's picture

I must be a complete moron because somehow I still believe that, for the most part, human beings are well meaning and honest.

I find it hard to believe that if we, who come here and know of these things, then surely, the president knows of these things as well.

I find it hard to believe that knowing these things, and failing to act upon them is suicide for any politician seeking re-election, and yet here we are, nothing is, or will be, done.

If this is how the world is structured, and this is how we must deal with each other, I believe we are doomed, and life has become a depressing parody of lost hope and dreams.

I am sad, so sad, and it's too early in the day to get wasted.

Raging Debate's picture

If you have nothing better to do than be depressed and await getting wasted then a couple of my suggestions for you to better protect yourself and feel safer may have merit.

If you want to feel more productive and secure rather than sad go to your City or Town Hall and ask them to help fix some problems and bring the community closer together. There is safety in numbers.

 Buy a small pistol and learn to shoot it. Have 90 days food and water. Simple hedging will give ample confidence, definately worth the few hundred bucks even if you never really need it.

Try to GET OUT once in awhile at the local watering hole and have a beer, listen to a few tunes, go camping or other low cost ways to breathe and remember your ALIVE. Being lonely tends to be no fun and cyber friends only count for so much.

Good luck, we all will be scared for what is going down. However, consider that all patterns of man-made human weather are cyclical :)

Clark Bent's picture

Don't get discouraged, you have just set your foot on the path to wisdom. Socialist governments are predicated on the unexamined theory that, as you say, "for the most part, human beings are well meaning and honest." This is unfortunately not true. What is true is that for the most part human beings adhere to what they believe is their own self interest. This reality was observed by Adam Smith when he adopted the conviction that a free market system is far more moral than any other because it requires that one's self interested be sublimated to providing a useable good or service in order to get same in return. The US founding fathers knew well the true nature of mankind because they were students of history and of Western Civilization and thought. This is why they chose a government structure that would pit competing governmental bodies against one another to serve as a beneficent rivalry that would prevent consolidation of power. Where there is consolidation there is unaccountability, and there you find organs like Goldman Sachs. Now that you have seen through the nonsense of people being basically good, you can start to see what human nature is truly like. Not all bad, but frail, often stupid, and deeply selfish. Goodness in reality (as opposed to in the abstract) is rare, and not to be found in big governmental institutions. 

Widowmaker's picture

Fear not, the vast majority of people are as you believe, but not if one assesses by fiscal demographics.

The difference can be traced to one thing: legal-untouchability.  This is nowhere more evident than usage of "incorporation" to achieve that status in order to lie, cheat, and steal.

For example, if you want to know where most of the organized crime went, it's in the money system Inc. - entrenched and now holding individual sovereignty and the common good hostage with wars, "terrorists," and fear.

Yeah, like I'll trust one motherfucking thing out of the dirty central banks mouths, choosing favorites by mysterious forces held out of accountable reach.

Burn them down and come forth with honest money, not "the last obligation of a central banker is truth."  That's called fraud, and it's systemic and pervasive in all other facets of conscience and principle that comes in contact with "their" dirty money.

Fuck the Fed, end it and start the prosecuting!  Turn DC, and Treasury inside motherfucking out! 

Incompetent Tim Geithner Bin Laden needs to be behind bars.

Any politician sucking Dicks Inc. needs to be thrown out of office!!

TheMerryPrankster's picture

Most people are inherently good, otherwise we would all kill and eat each other.

The ultra-alpha-alpha-alpha types that wrap themselves in extreme power are for the most part psycopaths. They are not like you or me, or they wouldn't be there, going toe to toe with their fellow psychopaths.

The ultimate tool of the pyschopath is the corporation, it gives them infinite leverage over the rest of us.

Don't despair or seek to blot the world from your mind, instead rage against the corporations that are destroying our society and our country, and rage against the psychopaths who own the corporations and the governement.

Chuck Walla's picture

I like your analogies, but I think politics is where its at now. If a politician can legislate you out of business or make you wealthy(George Soros doubled his money last year, and with a lot of projects blessed by his boot black, Braack. And with taxpayer money from Obama.) then THAT is where the power is now. See the inside trading rules for Congress to understand what I mean. Sure, Wall Street does it, but only the politician is truly free from prosecution.

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

Occupy psycopathic bitchez with guillotines....

Boxed Merlot's picture

Now that the US is no longer a "Christian" nation, I can understand your mis-assessment that "Most people are inherently good".

Christian apologists and basic theology teach exactly the opposite. People are inherently evil and destined to face the wrath of God's justice due to this proclivity to disobeying the basic tenets of doing right.

Ideally, the instruction for humanity is to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly. You can see how each of these activities is contrary to our primary nature, that is unless and until we "grow up". In "christian" terminolgy, it's known as being "born again".

The goodness anyone possesses is actually only assigned by God, as God is the only source of goodness.

That's how I read it anyway.

By the way, how is it ZH has been so quiet about Teneo?

SwingForce's picture

You gotta hear Ann Barnhardt's description of the situation: 

Sunshine n Lollipops's picture

I like her. She calls a spade a spade. Quite a stand she took, closing her brokerage to protect her clients. 

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

I have called the elite "aliens" as a metaphor..they live by rules and in wealth that common men have no ability to see or understand..they plunder by laws they write and with captured government..with complexity used to hide the outright theft it is..the morals they live by would shock the hardest criminal.

and yet they "live" among us without poison in the food- no shot out of the night as we "normals" are kept unaware of their evil deeds.

those of us who can "see" are often men of morals who do not resort to violence.

so they win again.

SamAdams1234's picture

Calm down, head down and sharpen the guillotine blades: its coming one outrage at a time.


Georgesblog's picture

Conflict of interest is standard procedure, in the corporate structure. The revolving door of bureaucracy is institutionalized insider activity.

Seasmoke's picture

and yet still no one who was robbed has gone postal......the world has gone soft

Imminent Crucible's picture

I wouldn't give up on them just yet. MFGlobal clients are still waiting to see whether the robbery gets rubber-stamped in favor of JPM and certain foreign banks. A 100% certainty, in my view.

It takes a while for people to go off the deep end. First, there's disbelief and denial. Then there's outrage and indignation. Then, they realize their life savings is gone and their future with it. Next, cold fury sets in, followed by bitterness, followed by the determination to get even.

And then, finally, the SHTF, about the time Blankfein and Corzine and Dimon think it's all blown over.

11b40's picture

It does take time for "change" to take hold.  I see both the Tea Party and the OWS Movement as being symptoms of rising discontent with the status quo.  The Supreme Court may have done both movements a favor last year with it's ruling that corporations are people and prior rulings equating money with speech.  A creeping realization of what the ZH crowd already knows is taking place in various degrees around the country.  We are being captured by a kind of financial terrorism, and we better start acting on our fears soon before it's too late. 

Winter is rapidly coming, and this discontent will fester in the heartland as things continue to get worse.  Will it all come to a head in the spring, as the OWS crowd starts camping out again and we tumble along into an election season? 

A very narrowly focused set of key issues/demands, like the one in this link could become game-changers, going from local, to state, to national.  It only takes a few legislators with balls to force votes on things other politicians would prefer to ignore.  Once exposed to sunlight, however, our slimy leaders become vulnerable to their records.  It is a long process, but it can, and it must, be done.


Loose Caboose's picture

I hope you're right.  Unfortunately, I think it's more likely that when the SHTF, it'll be blowing in the wrong direction. 

spanish inquisition's picture

Giddens - "Well I am here to announce that I have found all the missing money and it will be returned to the trust shortly. Based on the previous court ruling regarding my ability to comingle funds, we were able to handle the costs associated with tracking down missing client funds. I am please to announce that my company will be made whole regarding all fees incurred. Unfortunatly, there will be nothing left clients.

At issue, is that they are sophisticated investors, they should know that it is a corrupt system and that giving MFG, or any other primary dealer, money is just daring them to steal from you."

Savyindallas's picture

as long as these criminals control the media, most of the money, and Congress (and the Presidency) they will continue to steal, rape, rob and plunder. Nothing will stop them. They are laughing at us. But don't worry, Donald trump is thinking of getting back into the race. He will surely save us.

Savyindallas's picture

damned crooks. Obamaland is Bankster fantasyland paradise   - I think McCain may have been slighly better; but then again, his foreign policy would have been more aggressive - WW3 would have probably have started and ended by now. 

I am Jobe's picture

Man the whole thing is so corrupt and no one is held accountable. The poor guy steal a loaf of bread and gets busted. Where is the fucking justice. You want justice hang the bastards at the top first.

Freddie's picture

They are all Democrats and the media protects them.  CLinton was pulling $50,000 a month out of MF Worldwide at the end.  Why the board ever hired Democrat Jon Corzine is beyond me.  Probably a Democrat Chicago thing.

weinerdog43's picture

Freddie, ditching class to post on the internet is fun, but you're missing Algebra.

TheMerryPrankster's picture

They hired Corzine cause he was ex Goldman Sachs and had connections.

He was CEO at Goldman, he knew how to trade big and he had a name. Corzine was an ex U.S. Senator, he knew people.

Corzine managed to make MF Global, a Primary Dealer. Corzine could have made MF Global a huge player, that is what he was hired to do and what he wanted to do, so he bet BIG.

From what I've read, when he came in to the company it was leveraging 50 to 1, when it collapsed they were leveraged 100 to 1.

100 to 1 is mighty tight, not much wiggle room if your trade goes the other way, its nice when you win 100 bucks for every 1 you got in the game, but it sucks when you lose 100 dollars for every 1 you got in the game.

I'm not defending Corzine, but he was there because the board got greedy and Corzine understood greedy.

Probably a Wall Street thing.

Chuck Walla's picture

Leverage can be easier to handle if one is willing to "convert" client cash into the firms(and whoever elses, Like Clinton, maybe).

Boxed Merlot's picture

They hired Corzine...


And Corzine hired Teneo.


Seems MFG decided to cancel the contract with Teneo just when Teneo's services, contacts and expertise would do the most good.  Or perhaps make them look the worst...


From Teneo's website:


Teneo Strategy's core advisory services include:

Corporate and Financial Communications
Messaging to internal and external audiences (including investors, analysts, employees, and media); brand management

Special Situations Communications
Communications related to M&A transactions, IPOs, bankruptcies & restructurings, change management and other unique situations

Investor Relations
Program development and implementation, earnings preparation, financial calendar management and shareholder analysis

Crisis Management
Communications in times of crisis, planning/readiness, risk mapping and response strategies

Government Affairs
Advice on legislative and political developments, and government relations strategies


Teneo must be good, because the wheels on the bus didn't fall off until after they were cut loose.




MFL8240's picture

Money buys justice in a courrpt society.

Boxed Merlot's picture

Money buys justice in a courrpt society...

Wrong. It buys media fixes and access.

Justice never sleeps. It can never be bought or sold and it will prevail. Even in a "courrpt" society.


Clark Bent's picture

Money is power is money. One begets the other. It is the nature of humans to seek to live unaccountably at the expense of others. Power is not evil, money is not evil, but both can be employed to evil ends by evil people. Where money and pwer are found, resolute, ruthless, and often psychopathic individuals gather, contending mightily for their "share." Good people look to other pursuits and are often caught unawares at how bad things have become. 

Azannoth's picture

A System made for and run by - bankers, lawyers and accountants with politicians mixed in on top . No wonder the mess we're in

MachoMan's picture

It's a system that incentivizes people to behave dishonestly by having, among other things, access to manipulate the rule of law and enforcement thereof.  It matters not what "title" or "profession" you give the individual actors...  the problem is that the system is set up with insufficient checks and balances and individuals will act to maximize their own self interests...  it's just a race after that.

Sunshine n Lollipops's picture

These guys were the kids who woke up Christmas morning and thought that all the presents under the tree were belong to them. Precocious sociopaths.