The Indiana Securities Division has finalized a settlement with financial-services firm E-Trade following accusations that the company misled Hoosier investors about the safety of auction-rate securities, Secretary of State Connie Lawson said Wednesday.
New York-based E-Trade agreed to return $300,000 to Indiana investors, adding to the $804 million state regulators say they’ve helped recover since 2010. E-Trade also agreed to pay a fine of about $31,000.
Auction-rate securities are bonds whose interest rates are meant to be reset regularly at daily, weekly or monthly auctions. Many financial firms marketed them as safe, liquid and cash-like investments.
But when credit markets seized up as the recession deepened, auctions began to fail in 2008, freezing the $200 billion global market and leaving investors unable to access their money.
Securities regulators nationwide formed a multi-state task force to investigate after receiving complaints from investors who said they were led astray.