Articles Tagged with ETF

shutterstock_159036452-257x300Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS Financial) broker David Watkins (Watkins). According to BrokerCheck records, Watkins has been subject to two customer disputes, one of which is still pending. In addition, Watkins has been subject to two tax liens. The majority of these disputes concern unsuitable recommendations in bonds, stocks, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

In August 2017, a customer alleges that from May 2013 to October 2016, Watkins recommended for the customer to buy fixed-income securities and ETFs which were unsuitable to the customers investment needs. The customer has requested $5,000,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In September 2015, a customer alleged that from January 2011 to August 2015, Watkins placed the customer in bonds that were unsuitable to the customer and not rated AA or higher as the customer had approved. The case settled for $60,000.

shutterstock_1832895The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments. Commodity prices have plummeted due to the economic slowdown in China and the strengthening dollar. Persistently low equity prices for companies in these sectors are ruining balance sheets prompting bankruptcies and debt reduction strategies that may be too little too late.

One such company is Freeport-McMoran (FCX). Analysts studying Freeport worry about lower projected copper prices, risks in Indonesia, and the company’s reluctance to sell assets to raise capital. According to analysts it may already be too late for Freeport. So far the company has taken some steps such as announcing suspending its dividend and reducing capital expenditures. However, the Arizona-based natural resources company has a $20 billion debt load and no meaningfully way to reduce it. Shares of Freeport which traded as high as $38 in 2014 now trade at $4.35 a share.

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.

shutterstock_175835072The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a number of customer complaints involving Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (Wells Fargo) brokers, including financial advisor Charles Lynch (Lynch), concerning allegations that the investors have been recommended or their advisory accounts have been mismanaged to hold high concentrations of energy related investments. According to Lynch’s publicly available records, there are 11 customer complaints with 9 of those complaints being filed in 2015 all related to energy investments. The customer complaints against Lynch allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments among other claims.

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.  Our firm has written numerous articles concerning the dangers of MLP investments. MLPs are publicly traded partnerships. About 86% of the total MLP securities market, a $490 billion sector, can be attributed to energy and natural resource companies. However, most of these companies are heavily reliant on high oil prices to sustain their business models.

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. Many of these companies relied upon high energy prices in order to sustain their operations. As reported by the Wall Street Journal the drop in oil and energy prices and the industry downturn has made it difficult for many companies to refinance their debts.

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According to Bloomberg, Hercules Offshore Inc., (Hercules Offshore) is the owner of the largest fleet of shallow-water drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico when it filed for bankruptcy in August 2015. Debt issues by Hercules Offshore and drilling rig provider Paragon Offshore were among the worst-performing oil and gas service bonds in the high-yield energy index.

The company plans to use the bankruptcy to cut $1.2 billion in debt and for investors to trade their senior notes for almost 97 percent of Hercules’s equity. In addition, noteholders would also lend the company $450 million to finish building a new oil-drilling rig. Meanwhile, the number of rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico has fallen by more than half from last year’s high of 63 by August 2015.

Oil and gas and commodities related investments have been recommended by brokers under the assumption that commodities prices would continue to go up. Some experts are saying that if production volume continues to be as high as it currently is and demand growth weak that the return to $100 a barrel is years away.

shutterstock_112362875The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor losses in oil and gas related investments. 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, bonds, and individual stocks.

The fall of Samson Resources Corp. (Samson Resources) has been called a Wall Street blooper by and editorial in the Wall Street Journal. As a background, private equity firm KKR (Stock Symbol NYSE:KKR) announced the purchase of oil and gas producer Samson Investment Company’s onshore US assets in a 2011 deal worth $7.2 billion. The acquisition occurred when oil prices were near $100 per barrel and small independent shale oil producers were being acquired with PE ratios often above 50 but little to no positive cash flow to show that would justify the valuations. Now four years later and Samson Resources, under KKR’s ownership, has filed for bankruptcy and is currently undergoing restructuring. The August 2015 bankruptcy announcement precipitated a drop in KKR’s stock price of nearly 40%.

Billions of dollars from investors pumped into Samson Resources evaporated with the chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The company’s planned reorganization intends to wipe out the $7.2 billion invested by KKR and others in a 2011 leveraged buyout. The plan would also nearly erase Samson’s $2.25 billion in bond debt held by Blackstone Group. The continued failure of oil price recovery has reduced credit traders’ view of Samson Resource’s prospects for emerging from bankruptcy as a profitable company.

shutterstock_168478292Atlas Energy Group (NYSE:ATLS) is the general partner of Atlas Resource Partners (NYSE:ARP), a sponsor of oil and gas private placements and investments.   The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor losses in oil and gas related investments, like Atlas.

Atlas Energy Group and Atlas Resource Partners stock have both completely collapsed recently with both losing over 95% of their value over the past 2 years. Trying to unravel the business of the Atlas entities is nearly impossible. Even Atlas’ website fails to provide any meaningful understanding as to the business.

The website states that the business of Atlas Energy involves the ownership of: 1) 100% general partner interest and incentive distribution rights of Atlas Resource Partners, LP an exploration and production MLP; 2) 25 million ARP units, which includes ~21 million common units and 3.75 million Class C Preferred units in ARP; 3) 80% general partner interest and incentive distribution rights, as well as an 8% limited partner interest in Atlas Energy’s E&P Development Subsidiary; 4) 16% general partner interest and 12% limited partner interest in Lightfoot Capital Partners, which has a 40% limited partner interest in Arc Logistics Partners LP (NYSE: ARCX), an independent U.S.-based energy logistics service provider. Did this description clarify things?

shutterstock_140321293Reef Oil and Gas Companies located in Richardson, Texas, is a sponsor of oil and gas private placements and investments.   The investment attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor losses in oil and gas related investments, like Reef Oil and Gas.

Investors often do not appreciate the risks when investing in oil and gas private placements. Even before the collapse of oil prices it was rare for investors to make money on oil deals. According to Reuters, of 34 deals Reef Oil and Gas has issued since 1996, only 12 have paid out more cash to investors than they initially contributed. Reuters also found that Reef sold an additional 31 smaller deals between 1996 and 2010 taking $146 million from investors and only paying out just $55 million.

If investments in oil and gas private placements rarely succeed during oil booms, then they will certainly fail under current market conditions. According to Bloomberg, many oil companies are in trouble as U.S. high-yield debt issued to junk-rated energy companies grew four-fold to $208 billion. Most of these companies are now struggling to stay afloat with oil prices at $45. Many of these companies relied upon high energy prices in order to sustain their operations. As reported by the Wall Street Journal the drop in oil and energy prices and the industry downturn has made it difficult for many companies to refinance their debts.

shutterstock_29356093The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are interested in speaking with investors of broker Mark Hughes (Hughes) According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Hughes has been the subject of at least 7 customer complaints, and 1 regulatory action over the course of his career. The customer complaints against Hughes allege securities law violations that claim excessive trading, unsuitable investments, and unauthorized trading among other claims. The most recent complaint was filed in November 2011, and alleged $500,000 in losses due to unsuitable variable annuities.

The most recent regulatory action was taken by the state of Virginia in 2010, when the state alleged that Hughes violated the states laws by offering and selling leveraged exchanged traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs) to two Virginia residents when the investment was not suitable for them given their investment objectives, financial situation, risk tolerance, experience, and investment needs. The allegations were settled with the state and resulted in sanctions of $620,000 and the imposition of heightened supervision.

Hughes entered the securities industry in 1993. From June 2004, until November 2007, Hughes was associated with Suntrust Investment Services Inc. From October 2007, until November 2014, Hughes was associated with UBS Financial Services Inc. Presently, Hughes is associated with Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. out of the firm’s Washington, DC branch office location.

shutterstock_78659098According to the New York Times, the Spruce Alpha hedge fund was pitched to investors as providing large returns in periods of market turbulence through the implementation of a complex trading strategy. According to the Spruce Alpha fund, during the 2008 financial crisis investors should have had made gains of more than 600 percent. But what Wall Street pitches in theory almost always goes wrong in practice. Thus when markets turned volatile in August 2015, Spruce Alpha, which had only just started up in April 2014, did not turn the volatility into gains for investors. Instead, the fund turned in one of the worst performances losing 48 percent of their money.

The fund’s holdings at the time were under $100 million and was managed by the $1.5 billion Spruce Investment Advisors. Spruce Investment specializes in managing money for the wealthy and institutional investors. According to the New York Times, half of Spruce Investment’s assets under management come from three family offices, a corporation, and a pension plan. The Spruce Alpha fund was the asset management firm’s first direct hedge fund trading fund that was intended to raise a $500 million portfolio.

After the collapse the Spruce Alpha moved its positions into cash and told investors that they can redeem what remains of their money. The Spruce Alpha tale is only the latest example of how managers market hedge funds and complex investment products to investors that often turn out to be too good to be true. Using back-tested results in hedge fund marketing materials are fantasy recreations with all the benefits of hindsight knowledge that are then advertised as likely future performance. However, back-tested results are derived assuming optimum trading conditions, not what the fund will encounter in real life.

shutterstock_102242143The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating brokerage firms that placed investors in oil and gas related investments and who have suffered losses as a result. One company under investigation is oil and gas producer Halcón Resources Corporation (Halcón) (Stock Symbol: HK). According to news sources, Halcón received a de-listing warning from the New York Stock Exchange amid company moves to reduce its debt.

Halcón is a Houston based exploration and production company that recently worked out a deal to reduce its long-term debt by $548 million through private negotiations. Earlier this year, Halcón had its borrowing base cut by more than 50 percent as the company teeters on the edge during the ongoing oil downturn.  The stock’s price has fallen under $1 after trading at about $3 just one year ago.

Our offices continue to report on investment losses suffered by investors in energy and oil and gas related investments that brokerage firms have increasingly recommended to retail investors in recent years. According to Bloomberg, U.S. high-yield debt issued to junk-rated energy companies grew four-fold to $208 billion. Most of these companies are now struggling to stay afloat with oil prices at $45. Investors have been exposed to energy investments through a variety of investment vehicles including private placements, master limited partnerships (MLPs), leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and even individual stocks.