* KPMG said MF clients have til end of March 2012 to claim
* Admin will return funds 14 days after claim agreed
By Luke Jeffs
LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - MF Global UK’s administrator KPMG said the failed futures broker’s clients will be able to claim monies frozen at the firm beginning early next month in a move that offers frustrated investors some hope they will recover their cash.
KPMG said on Monday MF Global UK clients can formally make applications from Dec. 8 this year and asked that all claims are submitted by March 30, 2012.
“This helps to create certainty around the number and the size of claims with the intention of allowing a return of a proportion of client fund before March 30, 2012,” said Richard Heis, the joint special administrator of MF Global at KPMG.
KPMG also said in an emailed statement cash will be returned to eligible clients within 14 days of the claim being agreed by the administrators.
The pledge is a boost to MF Global clients who have become increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress recovering the estimated $1.2 billion of client cash and assets frozen at MF Global when it collapsed a month ago.
KPMG took the unusual step of apologizing to MF Global customers and assuring them it was transferring client positions “wherever possible” just days after the broker filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 31.
The administrator also moved to reassure MF Global investors when it said 10 days ago it would make interim distributions of money to clients before it had finally settled all positions.
MF Global client frustration has also focused on inconsistency by the world’s top futures exchanges and clearing houses, some of which responded to the MF collapse by liquidating positions while others moved them to other brokers.
“There is no standardization across the different clearing houses in Europe and no standardization between Europe and the U.S., which is confusing for clients, particularly when dealing with a global player like MF Global,” said Simmy Grewal, an analyst at research house Aite Group.
MF Global had been one of the biggest U.S. futures brokerages but the firm, led by former United States Senator Jon Corzine, failed after a bad $6.3 billion bet on European sovereign debt spooked counterparties and investors.