November 17, 2008                                                         Contact:Lucas Hamilton

STATE AUDITOR JOHN MORRISON REMINDS AUCTION RATE SECURITIES INVESTORS TO CONTACT FIRMS ABOUT BUYBACK OFFERS


      As state securities regulators continue their efforts to provide relief to investors who have had their funds frozen in the auction rate securities (ARS) market, the Montana State Auditorís office today reminded ARS investors of their redemption opportunities, which were reached as part of the settlements between securities regulators and several prominent Wall Street firms.
      
      "While some repurchases have been made, many more are to come in the months ahead. Investors should be aware that the offers to repurchase their auction rate securities are not open indefinitely," said State Auditor John Morrison. "We urge any investor with questions about the repurchase program to contact the firm from which they originally purchased their auction rate securities." Over 500 Montanans hold over $120,000,000 in these securities and it is critical they get in touch with the firms to ensure they get their money back. Buybacks begin in early January.
      
      Morrison noted that a number of firms have established hotlines to respond to questions from customers concerning the terms of the settlements. Those firms and their ARS hotlines are: Bank of America (866-638-4183), Citi (866-720-4802), Deutsche Bank (866-926-1437), Goldman Sachs (888-350-2857), JP Morgan (866-450-8470), Merrill Lynch (888-706-1381), Morgan Stanley (800-566-2273), UBS (800-253-1974) and Wachovia (866-283-7943).
      
      In settlements reached with state and federal securities regulators, 11 firms have agreed in principle to repurchase more than $50 billion of auction rate securities. In consideration of the settlements, securities regulators agreed to terminate their investigations into the marketing and sale of auction rate securities to individual investors.
      
      The investigations into possible violations were part of an ongoing state-led effort to address problems in connection with the offer and sale of ARS securities. Earlier this year, state offices began receiving hundreds of complaints from Main Street investors. As a result, in April, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced the formation of a multi-state Task Force, comprised of securities regulators in 12 states, including Montana, to investigate whether the nationís prominent Wall Street firms had systematically misled investors when placing them in ARS securities.