Lehman Prime Clients To Get Some Money Back

Oct 22 2009 | 1:55pm ET

Hedge fund clients of Lehman Brother’s European prime brokerage are poised to get some of their money back after a British judge ruled in their favor.

Jude Michael Briggs ruled that up to US$3.3 billion—out of approximately US$11 billion in prime brokerage assets frozen due to Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy last year—can be returned to Lehman’s clients, a victory for the hedge funds, led in the court proceedings by RAB Capital Management.

“The cash is client money, it has been segregated, and it can simply be paid to the counterparties as such,” Briggs ruled. “It is no part of the purpose of the administration that the unsecured creditors of [Lehman Brothers International Europe] should obtain a consequential windfall at the counterparties’ expense.”

The court-appointed administrator, PricewaterhouseCoopers, sought the ruling after both the prime brokerage counterparties and Lehman’s creditors, led by the Hong Leong Bank, claimed the money. Hong Leong has not filed for permission to appeal Briggs’ ruling.

PwC has already collected some US$1.8 billion in cash of the US$3.3 billion, but warned it won’t start sending out checks right away.

“Appropriate steps need to be undertaken on a client-by-client basis to establish entitlement to both the post-administration money and any security in respect of which such money has been paid and received by LBIE,” PwC said in a statement.

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