FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Contact: Laura Egerdal, (573) 526-0949
Contact: Abe Rakov, (573) 526-4734
Carnahan Recovers $78,000 in Commissions for 3 Missouri Investors
Jefferson City, Missouri – Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced an agreement with Stifel, Nicolaus and Company, Inc., in which the firm will return $78,000 in commissions paid by investors that were taken advantage of by their broker.
This agreement brings to a close the case involving former Stifel securities broker Girard Munsch. Munsch made more than 500 trades in accounts belonging to three Missouri investors during a three year period. Munsch admitted that he was the only one who benefited in some of the transactions he recommended.“My office refused to close this investigation until the Missourians that were misled by their broker got back the money they had to pay for unsuitable advice,” Carnahan said. “Stifel did the right thing by returning the commissions gained from its former broker's inappropriate actions.”
Stifel is returning $78,000 of the commissions collected from Munsch's activity with the three Missouri investors. In addition, Stifel is paying more than $130,000 in penalties, payments and costs, and its registration has been censured. The Securities Division took action against Stifel for failing to properly supervise Munsch, and not identifying and acting on Munsch's excessive trading and unsuitable recommendations.
Marie Ganninger, one of the three investors who will get commissions returned because of this agreement, said she began investing with Munsch after her husband died and she had to make investment decisions for the first time. She said a relative was a client of Munsch's, so she decided to invest with the broker was well.
“I trusted him because there was this kind of family connection. It was just a shock when all of the sudden I realized what happened,” said Ganninger, a St. Louis resident. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, I can't believe he did that to me.’ It was a hard lesson to learn.”
Bernelda Erbs, a 90-year-old former Munsch customer who also will receive a payment from Stifel, said, “I wouldn't have known anything about this money if it weren’t for Ms. Carnahan's office.”
Munsch entered into a separate consent order at the end of 2007 that suspended his license and required him to pay $50,000 in restitution to the investors. Munsch retired and left Stifel two months after that order was issued, and is no longer licensed in Missouri.
The Missouri Securities Division continued its investigation after the Munsch action and engaged in extended negotiations with Stifel over the past several months before this resolution was reached.
Investors with questions or concerns about their investments should call the Missouri Investor Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-721-7996 or visit the Secretary of State's web site at www.sos.mo.gov/securities.
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