The Stanford Group, a Houston-based investment firm with an office in downtown Baton Rouge, is under investigation by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority over sales of certificates of deposit in its offshore bank and the suspiciously consistent above-average returns those investments pay, according to Bloomberg News. The report cites unnamed sources who said they didn’t want to be identified because it would put their jobs at risk. “This is a rehash of old gossip and unsubstantiated allegations,” Stanford spokesman Brian Bertsch tells Daily Report. “The Stanford Group Company is rigorously managed and fully compliant with all U.S. regulations. The agencies have stated to us that their visits were part of a routine investigation.”
Grady Layfield, managing director of Stanford’s North Boulevard office, declined to comment, deferring to the corporate office. FINRA, a non-governmental regulator of securities firms, visited the local office several weeks ago, one of six branches from which agency investigators downloaded information from computer hard drives and looked through files. The SEC has been criticized for failing to expose Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme, and Bloomberg says the agency has recently stepped up its probes. Click here for the Bloomberg report.