An agreement has been reached between Vision Financial Markets and the trustee for Peregrine Financial Group, pending court approval, that will bulk transfer up to $123 million that was part of the trustee’s planned interim distribution to Vision along with customer accounts qualifying for that distribution.
Vision has agreed to pay the trustee $325,000 for the bulk transfer according to a statement on the trustee’s web site. The trustee will submit a proposed order to the Bankruptcy Court on Oct. 5, to authorize the bulk transfer.
The agreement will expedite the distribution of $123 million in customer funds including the distribution to large account holders, more than $50,000, who were not slated to get funds until a second distribution.
On Sept. 20 a federal bankruptcy judge approved a distribution plan from PFG Trustee Ira Bodenstein with the first wave of funds going to customers with accounts totaling less $50,000, on or before Oct. 8, and with the second distribution on or before Oct. 29.
Vision President and CEO Howard Rothman says he expects the transfer of accounts and funds to happen within 10 days of court approval.
According to the trustee’s statement, “Following the bulk transfer, Vision will hold the interim distribution amount in separate segregated or secured amount accounts for 60 days during which time any holder of a covered futures account may request that Vision either return the funds, begin trading the funds at Vision or transfer the funds to another futures commission merchant.”
The distribution covers approximately 30% of the value of the 4d customer segregated accounts and 40% of the 30.7 customer secured accounts.
While a distribution had already been approved, pending validation of some accounts by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the agreement should expedite the transfer and ability of customers to return to normal trading activity according to Rothman. “The surety that this [agreement] provides is a big positive step,” he says.
Rothman points out that Vision has relationships with introducing brokers that represents 30% of the value of the PFG book, which should make the transition easier. “They obviously had prior relationships with customers. It is a large step in the right direction,” Rothman says.
One of those IBs, Index Futures Group President Howard Marella, says,“[Vision] picked up the accounts, saving clients and brokers months of paper work and hassle to get started again. Also got the custodian to release the existing client cash without the mess of check confirmations etc. and saved an unending amount of money that would go to lawyers and such instead of back to the clients.”
Rothman adds that Vision offers many of the same high end order entry platforms utlilzed by PFG customers, which should also help make the transition easier.
However, while some IBs are happy with the transition to Vision, others are not. Some question how the trustee can award accounts to an FCM that was fined $500,000 and barred from entering into guarantee agreements with IBs for two years by the National Futures Association (NFA) in 2011 .
NFA did not object to the transfer to Vision. NFA President and CEO Dan Roth says NFA’s previous action regarding Vision limited their ability to take on additional IBs but does not prohibit them from taking on PFG accounts. Roth added, “Our past actions against Vision did not involve capital or any misuse of customer funds. Given the need to expedite the transfer of remaining customer funds, we did not object.”
One former PFG IB says, "While this may be good for IBs with existing relationships with Vision, it is not better for other IBs."