In the past four days, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and National Futures Association ordered the company shut down, and Peregrine filed for bankruptcy.
Peregrine said Tuesday that it had $500 million to $1 billion in assets, and $100 million to $500 million in liabilities. The company seeks a Chapter 7 liquidation, rather than a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, to reorganize.
It owns more than a dozen commercial properties in Cedar Falls and employed 125 people.
Wasendorf started as a commodities trader in the basement of his Cedar Falls home in 1972, offering seminars and educational programs to other traders, according to Reuters news service. In 1990, he launched Peregrine Financial Group, which would become PFGBest, and was an early promoter of electronic trading systems.
The business grew in the late 1980s after making a windfall profit by advising customers to short sell the financial futures market 10 days before the "Black Monday" stock market crash of 1987, according to Peregrine's website.
The company, which catered to local traders, farmers, wealthy individuals and small-market players, helped its 1,845 clients make margin, futures and other trades, according to court documents.
The firm in recent years opened offices in Canada and Shanghai before moving its headquarters from Chicago to Cedar Falls.