For institutional investors who lost money in questionable mortgage investments sold to them by Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new focus on derivatives fraud might seem long overdue. For Wall Street investment banks, it may seem like a witch hunt. Regardless, industry members and securities lawyers say, a tidal wave of regulatory complaints could soon strike Wall Street’s powerhouses, and not just Goldman Sachs. On Friday, the SEC slapped Goldman with a civil suit alleging fraud.
“All of the major banks got their hands dirty,” said Lawrence Klayman, a partner at Klayman & Toskes, which specializes in securities litigation. “Where there were structured products, such as collateralized debt obligations, there were investors who weren’t given full and fair disclosure. That’s at the heart of all these cases.”