(Reuters) - Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, three of his companies and two other executives, were charged with “massive” fraud on Tuesday as federal agents swooped on his U.S. headquarters.
Following are details from Stanford company websites about his financial empire, including from a 2008 copy of the group’s Stanford Eagle Magazine. In the final section, the information comes from the civil complaint filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Is a fifth-generation Texan and chairman of the Stanford Financial Group of companies that claims clients from 140 countries and assets under management and advisement of $50 billion.
His grandfather, Lodis, founded the first Stanford Company during the Great Depression in 1932 in the small central-Texas town of Mexia.
Allen Stanford, 58, made his first fortune in real estate in the early 1980s and expanded the family firm into a global wealth management company.
He lives in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, and holds dual U.S. and Antigua and Barbuda citizenship. He was the first American to be knighted by Antigua and Barbuda in 2006 to become Sir Allen Stanford.
Quote from Allen Stanford in magazine
“Our world is far different than the world my grandfather lived in when the first Stanford company was founded ... As a company founded in the midst of the Great Depression — an environment of despair and negativity — we have a long-proven understanding of how even the most severe downcycles can bring opportunities that yield significant benefits in the long run.”
Major Stanford companies and divisions include:
* Stanford Financial Group Global Management and Stanford Global Advisory LLC, based in St.Croix.
* Stanford International Bank, headquartered in St. John’s, Antigua.
* Stanford Group Company, based in Houston, Texas, is the companies’ North American head office.
* Stanford Policy Research Group, a Washington-based research team and a Government Affairs Office.
Among the financial services Stanford offers:
* Wealth management, including planning, asset management, brokerage, trust services, insurance and coins and bullion.
* Institutional services, including research, investment banking, and institutional sales and trading.
Support for sports includes:
* Stanford’s own private Twenty20 cricket competition in the Caribbean, including a $20 million game in November between England and his own team made up of West Indian players.
* Endorsement relationships with Fijian golfer Vijay Singh and England soccer player Michael Owen.
* Host sponsor of the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open tennis event in Biscayne, Florida on March 23-April 5.
* Sponsors venues at the Houston Polo Club and International Polo Club in Palm Beach, and sponsors the Stanford Charity Polo Day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the UK.
* In golf, it sponsors the PGA Tour’s Stanford St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee.
* Sponsors the Stanford Antigua Sailing Week
SEC Complaint says:
* Since 1994, Stanford International Bank claims it has never failed to hit investment returns in excess of 10 percent a year.
* In 2008, the bank said its “diversified portfolio of investments” lost only 1.3 percent, while the S&P 500 U.S. stocks benchmark declined 39 percent.
* SEC says the bank’s historical returns are “improbable, if not impossible.”
* The bank quoted certificate of deposit rates of more than 7 percent during 2005 and 2006, and quoted a 3-year CD at 5.375 percent annual rate in November 2008, against comparable U.S. bank CDs of 3.2 percent.
* Did not disclose that its investment portfolio includes a significant portion in illiquid private equity and real estate investments.
Reporting by Martin Howell; Editing by Ian Geoghegan