A federal judge yesterday permitted the Securities Investor Protection Corp., a quasi-governmental agency, to oversee the liquidation and assist customers of a New Jersey brokerage firm affiliated with a collapsed government securities dealer.
U.S. District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise granted SIPC's request after it alleged that Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Inc. of Livingston, N.J., might be unable to meet obligations to customers.
Four weeks ago, the brokerage firm was placed in the hands of a temporary receiver, Richard Hill. That was shortly after an affiliated government securities dealer, Bevill, Bresler & Schulman Asset Management Corp., filed for protection from creditors and was placed under a trustee's control.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that the two affiliates and three others misrepresented the dealer's financial condition and its ability to pay its obligations.
The dealer's trustee, Saul Cohen, has said creditors' losses could reach $240 million.
SIPC attorneys said they do not know the total the broker owes customers.
Many customers' investments were in government securities, stocks and bonds, which SIPC covers. But SIPC attorney George Bingham said repurchase and reverse repurchase agreements are not covered because they are considered loans.
SIPC will provide each account with up to $500,000 of the value of the securities, including $100,000 in cash, in addition to assets from the debtor's estate available to customers.
Hill said the SIPC proceeding would permit him to "promptly" set up a system to enable most retail customers to get securities or cash for their investments.