Gana LLP Investigates Raymond James Oil and Gas MLP Recommendations to Clients

shutterstock_130676432The investment attorneys with Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating and representing investors who were inappropriately recommended oil and gas and commodities related investments. Investors may have potential legal remedies due to unsuitable recommendations by their broker to invest in this speculative and volatile area. Raymond James in one brokerage firm that has served as an underwriter for many master limited partnerships (MLPs) deals and whose analysts have previously given high ratings to these investments.

Jeff Saut, chief investment strategist, at Raymond James stated that his favorite MLP plays included Yorkville High Income LLP ETF (YMLP) and Yorkville High Income Infrastructure MLP ETF (YMLI). These two funds have plummeted significantly since the recommendation.

Among the individual MLPs that have suffered significant declines and now is in jeopardy of bankruptcy that was promoted by Raymond James analysts is Linn Energy (LINE) and LinnCo (LNCO). Both stocks have plummeted in value by about 98% in value over the last year. For years Raymond James analyst Keven Smith kept a “Strong Buy” rating on Linn Energy. Finally, when the stock had plummeted 50% in value with no sign of recovery Smith downgraded LinnCo to “Outperform” from “Strong Buy” and the price target to $9 from $15. Only in February 2016 when Linn Energy was on the verge of bankruptcy did Raymond James analysts drop the stock to “Underperform.”

According to the company’s website, LinnCo is a limited liability company created to enhance LINN Energy LLC ability to raise additional equity capital to execute a growth strategy. While LinnCo’s initial purpose was to own units in its affiliate in connection with the acquisition of Berry Petroleum Company, LinnCo allowed the acquisition and subsequent transfer of assets to Linn Energy. Linn Energy is a top-20 U.S. independent oil and natural gas company and owns approximately 7.3 Tcfe(2) of proved reserves in the Rockies, California, Hugoton Basin, Mid- Continent, Permian Basin, east Texas and north Louisiana, Michigan, Illinois and South Texas.

Now according to analysts, Linn Energy and LinnCo announced a plan to “explore strategic alternatives related to its capital structure.” Simply put, it appears that Linn Energy is out of money and has drawn down the last of its credit facility with only $919 million left out of $3.6 billion line for general corporate purposes.

Our clients tell us similar stories that their advisors hyped MLPs as high yielding investments without significant discussion of risk. In a recent Associated Press article, common stories of how investors are pitched by their financial advisors on oil and gas private placements were reported on. Often times these products are pitched as ways to ride the boom in U.S. oil and gas production and receive steady streams of income.

Brokers that have recommended MLPs to investors may have made unsuitable recommendations based upon the yields of these investments rather than the risk to principal. Over the past year MLPs have been hammered due to weaknesses in oil and gas and commodities markets.

Financial advisors must ensure that the oil and gas and commodities related investments being recommended to their client is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company before making the recommendation. Unfortunately, sometimes adivsors fail to conduct sufficient research or understand the risks and prospects of the company. Oil and gas and commodities related investments have been recommended by brokers under the assumption that commodities prices would continue to go up. However, brokers who sell oil and gas and commodities products are obligated to understand the risks of these investments and convey them to clients.

Our firm represents securities investors in claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products .   Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

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