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Reserve Primary Fund Trial Begins

The civil fraud trial against money market fund creator Bruce Bent and his son began yesterday.  The defendants managed the Reserve Primary Fund which broke the buck in 2008.  The SEC’s suit alleges that the Bents violated federal securities laws by making misleading statements to the SEC, investors and trustees in the days leading up to the collapse of the fund.  According to the SEC, on the morning after Lehman announced its bankruptcy, the Bents made false assurances that they would use money from their firm, Reserve Management Co., to prevent the fund from breaking the dollar.  The Bents argue that they did not lie or defraud investors, but instead came to realize that they did not have enough money to cover a $785 million shortfall.  The fund had invested about 1% of its assets in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. prior to its collapse.  Reserve Primary Fund investors ultimately received 99 cents for every dollar invested in the fund.