Facebook investors to be paid for IPO failure

Nickalas Tabbert

Facebook's introduction was a nightmare for investors last month, but help is on the way.

On Wednesday, Nasdaq agreed to pay financial firms for their struggles after the exchange operator mishandled trades during the initial public offering of Facebook Inc.

A total of $40 million is being proposed for a voluntary accommodations fund, Forbes said.  While the proposal is still subject to Securities and Exchange Commission review, Nasdaq plans to pay $13.7 million in cash to member firms, with the balance of the fund "credited to members to reduce trading costs."

The payout will be overseen by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which will evaluate claims, though the agency has said Nasdaq will make the final decision, the Wall Street Journal said.

In order to qualify, members must have been "directly disadvantaged" by Nasdaq's technical problems before the 11:30 a.m. start of trading in Facebook shares, and had "uncertainty regarding their IPO cross position," the article said.

Participation is not available for losses "that resulted from affirmative decisions by members, or in cases where members told investors that unconfirmed trades had been executed," Nasdaq said.

Three types of transactions during the IPO cross would qualify: sell orders at $42 or below that did not execute; sell orders at $42 or below executed at an inferior price; and buys at $42 executed but not immediately confirmed.

Nasdaq's board considered three factors when deciding how to compensate those impacted, including a company rule which established a $3 million ceiling for accommodating funds, the exchange's estimated $7 million of Facebook-related revenues over the next five years and Nasdaq's $10.7 million error account as of May 18.