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CSFB IPO Accounts Questioned

Report Says Investment Banker Quattrone Got More IPO Allocations To Allegedly Land Banking Business

Sep 5, 2002 | CNN/Money

Credit Suisse First Boston may join Salomon Smith Barney under securities regulators' scrutiny for allegedly doling out shares of hot initial public offerings to lure lucrative investment banking deals, according to a published report Thursday.

In a string of e-mails in 1999, CSFB's technology investment banker Frank Quattrone asked executives with authority over stock allocations for 4-to-5 percent of IPO offerings sold by CSFB, up from the 2-to-3 percent his tech group had been receiving, the Wall Street Journal reported.

With the help of the firm's brokerage arm, Quattrone offered investment-banking clients the chance to set up accounts with the company, but only after they chose CSFB to lead their initial public offerings or to do other banking transactions, according to the paper.

By 2000, Quattrone's group ran 160 of the "Friends of Frank" accounts which grew to $150 million from $50 million in 1999, the Journal reported.

CSFB brokers who managed the accounts would sell about one-third of the allocation a few days after an IPO, a practice called "spinning." The brokers would then sell another third a month later and the remainder at a subsequent point, the paper said.

Some of the executives with accounts at CSFB included Alan Black, chief financial officer for Openwave Systems Inc., and Kenneth Levy, chairman of KLA-Tencor, the Journal reported.

The House Financial Services Committee has issued subpoenas to CSFB and to Goldman Sachs Group seeking information on IPO allocations.

When asked about the House Committee request, Victoria Harmon, spokeswoman for CSFB, told CNNfn, "We continue to cooperate with all authorities."

Goldman Sachs told CNNfn it will cooperate with the request "although we are surprised to have been asked. We too have read recent reports of so-called industry practices and they do not accord with how we do business at Goldman Sachs."

Securities and congressional regulators are investigating alleged "spinning" at Citigroup's Salomon Smith Barney unit for WorldCom executives in order to land the now-bankrupt telecom's investment banking business.

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