Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. says its broker-dealer division is not part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy it filed Sept. 15. That division, along with its asset management unit, are not part of the agreement Lehman concluded last week to sell many of its operations to Barclays Bank P.L.C., London
Lehman’s broker-dealer division includes Neuberger Berman LLC, for which Lehman has been seeking a buyer for several months.
Lehman will continue to explore the sale of Neuberger Berman and is also in advanced talks with a number of potential purchasers to sell Lehman’s asset management unit, the company says.
Neuberger Berman and Lehman Brothers Asset Management “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 said 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 Securities and Exchange Commission also issued a statement seeking to reassure clients of Neuberger Berman.
The SEC said 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.”
Meanwhile, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which maintains a reserve fund to help investors at failed brokerage firms, said it has not started a liquidation proceeding against Lehman Brothers and does not anticipate doing so.
“It appears that all customer cash, stocks and other securities are accounted for” by Lehman’s broker dealer, SIPC said.
“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.,” the agency stated.
In another development, Sun Life Financial Inc. Toronto, says it stands to take a loss of up to $349 million on bonds and other instruments it holds on 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 notes. 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 actuarial cash flow testing, which it will complete after the close of the quarter Sept. 30.