Thursday, October 15, 2009

Schwab Receives Wells Notice For Mutual Funds

In an 8-K filed today, Charles Schwab Corp. disclosed that it has received a Wells Notice from the SEC. Accordign to the filing, the Company has been responding to civil litigation claims and regulatory investigations regarding two fixed income mutual funds, the Schwab YieldPlus Fund(R) and the Schwab Total Bond Market Fund(TM). The Wells Notice reflects that the SEC staff intends to recommend the filing of a civil enforcement action against Schwab Investments, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. and the president of the funds for possible violations of the securities laws with respect to the two funds.

A Wells Notice is a device used by the SEC to advise a prospective defendant that the Staff is going to make a recommendation to the Commission to commence proceeding. The notice is designed to provide the prospective defendant with the opportunity to inform the Commission as to why an action should not be commenced. The notice is simply that; a notice. It is not a finding of wrongful conduct.

The use of a Wells Notice is something of a unique procedure, and one that is sometimes beneficial to a prospective defendant.  I have represented numerous parties in SEC and FINRA investigations over the years, and wrote a column, "The Wells Notice in SEC and NASD Investigations" for those who are interested in learning more about the process. provides additional information. The column is at SECLaw.com, at http://www.seclaw.com/docs/wellsnotice.htm.

Schwab's 8-K reflects that the company intends to respond to the Wells Notice. More>>>

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