Despite several requests from New Jersey officials, Lazard, Freres & Co. has so far refused to disclose allocations on the largest deal Cypress Securities has co-managed - the state's $1.8 billion refunding last December, for which Lazard was senior manager.
David Thompson, president of Cypress, said the firm was allocated $45 million, or 2.5% of the issue, but sold only $20 million of bonds. That earned the company $100,000 in commissions, he said.
But Thompson said Cypress also profited from the issue's group net sales, which reward each member of the syndicate for every sale allocated to the group, regardless of which firm sold the bonds. Thompson declined to say how much Cypress earned from such sales.
Market sources say an allocation of $45 million would be unusually large for a firm the size of Cypress, which began operations in March 1992. At the end of 1992, the company's net capital was $125,000, according to filings with the Securities Exchange Commission.
New Jersey treasury officials say they have been asking Lazard for months to detail what the allocations for each firm in the offering's 26-member syndicate and have sent a written request to Lazard that went unanswered.
A spokeswoman for Lazard said the firm believes it has responded to all the state's requests for information on the deal.
Richard McGrath, a spokesman for state Treasurer Samuel Crane, said the state plans to resend the letter requesting the information from Lazard, to make sure the company understands that all requests for information have not yet been answered.
Gov. Jim Florio's recent executive order banning negotiated underwriting at the state level includes a provision requiring senior managers to give the state detailed allocation information on every deal they handle, McGrath said. But he said the provision is not retroactive, so it cannot be used to force Lazard to provide the information if they continue to withhold it.
Issuers who make the effort to get allocation information often find their senior managers hold such details close to the vest. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority, for example, spent months trying to force Merrill, Lynch & Co. to provide allocation information on its $1.6 billion portion of the turnpike's 1991 and 1992 refunding issues, which are now the subject of federal investigations into alleged political influence peddling.
Merrill Lynch eventually responded with a list of figures. The turnpike's executive director said recently, however, that he is still not convinced the firm provided all the information he asked for.