VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Auction-rate securities create nightmare for investors

When a littleknown corner of the financial world hit a wall in February, auction-rate securities became an investor’s worst nightmare. Auction-rate securities are long-term corporate or municipal bonds with interest rates that reset at periodic auctions. For years, the market for auction-rate securi ties operated smoothly. From 1984 through 2006, only 13 auction failures were recorded. Then, in February 2008, in the midst of a credit crunch, demand for auction-rate securities dried up, causing auctions to fail. Wall Street investment…

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