Peregrine Financial Group files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Peregrine Financial Group files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

National Grain and Feed Association uncertain to what extent customers, members may be affected by insolvency

Iowa-based brokerage Peregrine Financial Group has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy amidst fraud allegations after regulatory group the National Futures Association found the company couldn’t account for $220 million in customer funds.

According to the company’s filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Peregrine has between $500 million and $1 billion of assets, between $100 million and $500 million of liabilities and between 10,000 and 25,000 creditors. The National Grain and Feed Association said that while it is uncertain about the full extent to which commodity customers or members companies may be affected by Peregrine’s insolvency, it is “extremely alarmed” by reports of the missing customer funds, and sees this as a reaffirmation of the need to institute “serious reforms” to help prevent misappropriation of customer funds and to protect customer interests in liquidation proceedings.

Earlier in July, the association submitted recommendations to the U.S. Congress and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission designed to provide greater oversight and enhance customer protections in the event of another MF Global-type liquidation of a futures commission merchant. The recommendations focused on policy changes likely to require congressional action, and were targeted at protecting customer assets in the event of an merchant bankruptcy.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed a complaint against Peregrine on July 10, accusing the company and its owner, Russell Wasendorf, Sr., of committing fraud by misappropriating customer funds, violating customer fund segregation laws and making false statements in financial statements filed with the agency. According to the National Grain and Feed Association, recent events prove that the MF Global bankruptcy was not a one-time problem. “We now see that significant risk to supposedly segregated customer funds still exists,” said the association.