FINRA Probes Mortgage Securities Sales

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FINRA Probes Mortgage Securities Sales

David Scheer and Jesse Westbrook of Bloomberg report that U.S. regulators, concerned brokerages may have sold clients money-losing securities tied to subprime mortgages, are seeking information about how the investments were marketed, a person familiar with the situation said.The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which polices about 5,100 brokerages, sent letters Dec. 14 to more than a dozen firms that sell collateralized mortgage obligations, a type of security linked to home-loan payments, said the person, who declined to be identified because the inquiry isn’t public. One letter obtained by Bloomberg seeks sales spreadsheets, marketing materials, and procedures and methods for matching products to clients’ investment needs.

Mounting losses from securities tied to home loans are prompting regulators to examine how Wall Street firms valued and promoted the products. Finra Chief Executive Officer Mary Schapiro said in September the agency was scrutinizing sales of mortgage-backed products to retirees, and had sent a round of letters seeking information on the transactions.

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