Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. says its broker-dealer division is not part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy it filed Monday.
The broker-dealer division includes Neuberger Berman L.L.C. Lehman, New York, has been seeking a buyer for the division for several months.
Lehman will continue to explore the sale of Neuberger Berman and is also in advanced talks with a number of parties that could buy the Lehman asset management unit, Lehman says.
Neuberger Berman and the asset management unit “will continue to conduct business as usual and will not be subject to the bankruptcy case of its parent, and its portfolio management, research and operating functions remain intact,” Lehman says in a statement. “In addition, fully paid securities of customers of Neuberger Berman are segregated from the assets of Lehman Brothers and are not subject to the claims of Lehman Brothers Holdings creditors.”
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also issued a statement seeking to reassure clients of Neuberger Berman.
The SEC says it will continue to require the broker-dealer to “conduct its affairs so as to minimize the effect of the holding company’s bankruptcy on customers, and that it ensure access to customer cash and securities.”
The Wall Street Journal and other publications are reporting that Barclays Bank P.L.C., London, is likely to reach an agreement to buy a large part of Lehman Brothers, including Neuberger Berman and its asset management unit.
Meanwhile, the Securities Investor Protection Corp., which maintains a reserve fund to help investors at failed brokerage firms, says it has not started a liquidation proceeding against the Lehman Brothers broker-dealer unit and does not anticipate doing so.
“As of this morning, it appears that all customer cash, stocks and other securities are accounted for” by Lehman’s broker dealer, SIPC says.
“It is important to understand that the holdings of broker-dealer Lehman Brothers Inc., would not be directly impacted by a bankruptcy filing at the separate entity Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.,” SIPC says.
An SIPC advertisement that explains the agency’s role is running today on at least one New York-area radio station, 1010 WINS.
In another development, Sun Life Financial Inc. Toronto, says it stands to take a loss of up to $349 million on Lehman bonds and other instruments issued by Lehman.
Sun Life holds $334 million par value of Lehman bond securities and about $15 million net value of Lehman derivative instruments. It says it also holds collateral security under agreements for its net derivative exposure to the failed company.
Under Canadian accounting rules, when a bond backing liabilities is written down in value or defaults, the actuarial assumptions about the cash flows required to support the liabilities will change, Sun Life says. As a result, Sun Life must strengthen its reserves and take a corresponding charge to income, which it has yet to determine.
Sun Life expects to record a charge to earnings for its Lehman holdings in the third quarter. The amount depends on a number of factors, including the amount of expected recoveries and the results of actuarial cash flow testing, the company says.