Schwab to Pay $200M in Bond Fund Suit Settlement

Charles Schwab Corporation has agreed to pay $200 million to settle federal securities law claims in a civil class-action lawsuit related to the Schwab YieldPlus Fund.

Charles Schwab has been the subject of consolidated class-action litigation filed in mid-2008 and regulatory investigations relating to the investment policy, disclosures, and marketing of the YieldPlus Fund, an ultra-short bond offering (“SEC Hits Schwab with Wells Notice over Bond Funds”).

Schwab said in a news release the fund was designed to invest in a variety of fixed-income instruments, including corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities, and other fixed-income investments. Because of the effects of the 2007 credit crisis on the markets, Schwab said, clients who had lost money filed the suits.

The preliminary settlement is subject to a definitive agreement and final approval of the court. Other related regulatory matters and a California state law claim remain open. Schwab said it admitted no liability in the settlement.

Based on the preliminary settlement agreement, the company has increased the contingency reserve previously established in connection with the litigation by $172 million pre-tax, which is net of expected insurance coverage and will reduce first quarter 2010 net income by approximately $105 million, or $0.09 per share.