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Ruthless: How Enraged Investors Reclaimed Their Investments and Beat Wall Street Hardcover – September 28, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
In his latest exposé (after Tracking Treasure), Trupp, a former investigative reporter, details his response to learning, on Valentine's Day, 2008, that a third of his retirement investments might have been wiped out. Two years earlier, his Wachovia broker had urged him to park those funds in an Auction Rate Security account ("Take it, Phil, it's free money"), but now Trupp was answering his phone to a new Wachovia broker's disturbing hello: "We've got a problem." ARS financial instruments were auctioned nearly every week, but now, as the economy began to collapse, no one was buying, so there were too few bidders to hold an auction. Major banks were unwilling to step into the breach, and the billion international ARS market had frozen solid as the bonds' value plummeted. While the broker called the problem a temporary illiquidity, it became clear to Trupp that he'd been scammed. Having been assured that ARS accounts were as safe as cash, Trupp decided to fight back, creating a community (through blogging and organizing with other victims) that helped expose the fraud and put enough pressure on Wachovia and other major financial institutions to meet depositors' claims. His hard-hitting account of a real life David and Goliath is page-turner (Sept.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Trupp, an experienced news journalist, invested in auction-rate securities (ARS) around 2007 after being assured by his Wachovia broker that these debt obligations were safe and could be sold easily. Trupp explains that when the ARS market crashed in February 2008, he and over 100,000 other investors were left with some $336 billion in illiquid ARS. Trupp recounts his anger and tells of his odyssey to get redress for himself and other ARS investors. He heaps criticism on the greed of Wall Street, lax government regulation, and the mandatory arbitration process of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which he claims is stacked against investors. Trupp retells investor stories and how he helped publicize the ARS problem over the Internet when traditional media failed to air the problem. As a result of the pressure brought by investors and state regulators, more than half of the ARS had been redeemed at the time of his writing. VERDICT Business-oriented readers who can get past Trupp's numerous angry rants will find his first-person account instructive of how Wall Street and regulators betrayed the trust of so many ARS investors. (Library Journal, September 15, 2010)
Top customer reviews
Ruthless should be mandatory reading for everyone who caused the economic collapse of 2008-2009 - the bankers, the fed and, most of all, the brokerages. Ruthless gives it to the latter with both barrels.
For those interested in the financial future of the world and who have a desire to ward off the next bubble this is absolutely must reading.
It's worth noting that the auction rate securities crisis is not over. Some brokerages, Oppenheimer & Company is particular, refuse to do the right thing. Their clients continue to twist in the wind.
Ruthless is a cautionary tale for anyone who's ever trusted an "expert" to handle their money.
resourceful, respected journalists). A victim of the "Auction Rate
Securities" (ARS) fraud, author Phil Trupp candidly discloses how he and
146,500 individuals and major institutions believed reassuring
misrepresentations that their ARS investments were "just like cash" in
liquidity. Only when the investors were told the then-$336 billion market
was "frozen" in early 2008 did investors learn that it was a scam;
underlying bonds and preferred stocks were not liquid at all, but
distressingly long term. If all was well, the investors' granchildren,
decades later, would be paid. Meanwhile, issuers and banks fared well,
timely paid for issuance and holding auctions, some of which never happened.
The story of action by companies and investors catastrophically damaged by
the massive liquidity crisis is summarized nicely by Phil Trupp's subtitle:
"How enraged investors reclaimed their investments...and beat Wall Street."
If you've not heard much about the Auction Rates Securities 2008 scandal,
you are not alone; the book offers interesting explanation why there was
little coverage for a fraud of breathtaking scope. Enjoy this honest,
readable explanation and story, with a cast of bizarre characters including
infamous personality and newsmaker "Radioactive Man," providing a diversion
into the Kennedy and King assasinations after the major Bush Administration
figure explains the President was "actually aware" of all the (ARS)
problems, and that "Government jumping in- well it can only make matters
since i am one those affected and Charles Schwab has offered no help in resolving my problem even though one of their account executives encouraged the purchase of this ARS and represented it as a liquid investment , the book provides a plan for recovery . success in this regard is not assured however .
if you bought an ARS and can't sell it ....read the book .