Monday, December 15, 2008

Madoff Investors Look to Other Advisers

The Madoff mess is truly a mess, and while investigators and private attorneys attempt to sort out what happened and who is liable, a secondary class of potential defendants is coming into focus - investment advisers who invested their client's money with Madoff.

It appears that a substantial portion of the assets that Madoff was "managing" was given to him not by investors, but by other investment advisers.  Yes, there are investment advisors whose only advise is which investment advisor to use. Those advisors select other advisors, and collect a portion of the advisors fee.

With the Madoff losses anticipated to reach $50 billion (although current government estimates are closer to $20 billion) it is clear that there is not going to be enough money to go around. However, many of those "secondary" advisors are solvent, liquid, and in business. Investors are starting to look to those advisors for their losses.

There is, in theory, liability for an investment advisor who recommends another investment adviser, but that liability is going to be quite limited, and subject to a number of viable defenses. However, when you are trying to recoup 50 billion dollars, the tough liability cases don't seem so daunting to an attorney.
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