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Credential Considers `Relief Plan' for Its Clients

By Doug Alexander

April 8 (Bloomberg) -- Credential Securities Inc., a brokerage for Canadian credit unions, is working on a "relief plan'' for its clients who bought C$48 million ($47.4 million) in asset-backed commercial paper that stopped trading in August.

"We are looking at a whole range of possibilities,'' Elaine McHarg, a senior vice president at the Vancouver-based brokerage, said today in an interview. "We would not be looking at buying it back without appropriate partnerships.''

Credential sold the debt to about 335 customers, according to the brokerage. They are among an estimated 1,800 individuals and at least 100 companies holding C$32 billion in paper that stopped trading after investors shunned the debt over concerns about ties to U.S. subprime mortgages.

A group of banks and institutional investors reached an agreement March 17 to swap the insolvent paper for new notes that mature within nine years. Some investors, including Credential customers, have said they'll reject this proposal in an April 25 vote because they can't wait that long to be repaid, and they may face losses if they try to sell the new notes before maturity.

"We are totally focused on finding a relief plan for investors,'' McHarg said. "We're putting our best effort at it and we're going to keep pushing until we get there.''

McHarg wouldn't comment further on the relief plan. Credential is in contact with the investors' group that drafted the restructuring, and has had discussions with Canaccord Capital Inc., another Vancouver brokerage working on its own relief plan, she said.

"This proposal would be separate from Canaccord, but we are well informed by the Canaccord proposal,'' McHarg said.

Canaccord has been working on a "relief program'' for its 1,400 investors holding C$269 million of the debt, which may include lining up buyers for the notes, and trying to minimize losses for investors.

To contact the reporter on this story: Doug Alexander in Toronto at dalexander3@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: April 8, 2008 17:18 EDT

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