Firm Takes Over Black Monday Brokerage Victim
Oct. 23, 1987
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) _ The sudden death of a once-respected brokerage firm is a grim lesson for both buyers and brokers who risk too many walks on the wild side of Wall Street, the firm's former manager says.
The remnants of H.B. Shaine & Co., a 30-year-old regional firm with more than 4,500 accounts, were absorbed Thursday by the Chicago investment company of Rodman & Renshaw Inc.
All the firm's employees will be retained except for two unidentified brokers who dabbled in speculative stocks and made the company too vulnerable to survive Monday's record stock market decline, Rodman & Renshaw officials said.
Former H.B. Shaine manager Arthur Silverstein, who will retain a similiar position when the firm re-opens as a Rodman & Renshaw branch on Monday, said the brokerage's demise is a lesson in Wall Street unpredictabili ty.
''There is a tremendous lesson,'' he said. ''Risk plays a tremendous part in the stock market and people should never lose sight of the risk that they take - stockbrokers included.''
The transfer was approved Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said Cyril Moscow, a court-appointed trustee overseeing the liquidation of the firm.
About 70 customer accounts, all handled by the two brokers dealing heavily in the high-risk options market, will not be included in the transfer, said Richard Glick, an attorney for Rodman & Renshaw.
Those accounts, which incurred unspecified debts in excess of $2 million from Monday's crash, will remain with the Securities Investor Securities Corp., a government-created agency that seized control of H.B. Shaine on Tuesday.
H.B. Shaine was the nation's first investment firm to collapse as a result of the stock market's record decline. It employed more than 100 people, including 45 brokers.
The brokerage failed because it was unable to cover debts incurred by customers trading in options who had purchased stock on margin.
Buying stock on margin is essentially purchasing it on partial credit. A theoretical investor who buys a single share of stock for $100 on margin must put up 50 percent of the price and have credit equalling 30 percent of what is owed, Glick said.
When the market crashed Monday, the value of the shares dropped, but what the margin buyers owed remained the same.
A margin call occurs when a broker asks the investor to put up additional collateral as the stock drops. If the price of the share drops below what the investor owes on a margin account, that account is wiped out.
On Monday, H.B. Shaine had too many customers on margin accounts and couldn't cover their debts with its $2 million in capital, Glick said.
Those indebted accounts will be left with SIPC to pursue, he said.