The investment attorneys with Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses in 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. Our firm has been tracking a number of leveraged Master Limited Partnership (MLP) closed-end funds that have suffered significant losses. Among those funds is Clearbridge Energy Fund (NYSE:CEM), at $1.9 billion in assets. Over the past year the fund has suffered a 50% loss.
As a background, about 86% of the total MLP securities market, a $490 billion sector, can be attributed to energy and natural resource companies. In the past year, investors have lost $20 billion in publicly traded in master limited partnerships, publicly traded oil funds. This amounts to an astonishing $8 of every $10 they had invested, according to a report prepared for The Associated Press article. The research does not include losses from $37 billion of bonds sold by the partnerships in the five years since 2010 or losses from private placement partnerships. However, banks like Citigroup, Barclays, and Wells Fargo made an estimated $1.1 billion in fees for selling these products to investors.
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.
Before recommending investments in oil and gas and commodities related investments, brokers and advisors must ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company in order to 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 is investigating potential securities claims against brokerage firms over sales practices related to the recommendations of oil & gas and commodities products such as exchange traded notes (ETNs), structured notes, private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks. 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.