Articles Tagged with leveraged ETF

shutterstock_175835072The investment fraud attorneys with Gana Weinstein LLP continue investigate oil and gas and commodities related investment losses. Investors may have potential legal remedies due to unsuitable recommendations by their broker to invest in this speculative and volatile area. Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund (Ticker Symbol: GER) is a Master Limited Partnership (MLP) closed-end mutual fund. The Fund opened at about $20 per share in September 2014. However, since that time, due to the fund’s holdings in MLPs, the value for the fund has plummeted to $4.19 representing an almost 80% loss.

About 86% of the total MLP securities market, a $490 billion sector, can be attributed to energy and natural resource companies. According to Bloomberg, many oil companies are in trouble and are going bankrupt as U.S. high-yield debt issued to junk-rated energy companies grew four-fold to $208 billion. The bankruptcies have been devastating causing forced selling at fire sale prices.

Moreover, our firm has been receiving an alarming number of complaints concerning how these speculative investments are being marketed and sold to investors. 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. However, in the past year, investors have lost $20 billion in publicly traded in master limited partnerships and 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.

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_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_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.

shutterstock_187532303The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned (Case No. 2010025835701) broker E1 Asset Management, Inc. (E1 Asset) Ron Itin (Itin), and Ahsan Shaikh (Shaikh) concerning numerous irregularities and misconduct including allegations that between July 2008, and April 2012, including the failure to conduct reasonable supervisory reviews designed to detect and prevent excessive trading, otherwise known as churning, in customer accounts.

Itin’s BrokerCheck records reveal at least 9 customer disputes. These disputes involve claims of unsuitable investments, churning (excessive trading), unauthorized trading, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations and false statements, among other claims. The claims state that among the products traded in client accounts were penny stocks, options, and other equities. In January 2015, Itin declared chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey. Itin has been associated with E1 Asset Management, Inc. since 1999 and is a supervisory principal at the firm.

Shaikh’s BrokerCheck records show at least at least nine customer disputes. The disputes involve claims similar in nature to Itin’s records. Shaikh has been associated with E1 Asset Management, Inc. since 1999 and is a supervisory principal at the firm.

shutterstock_189006551The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned broker Cary Olson (Olson) concerning allegations that Olson made recommendations in non-traditional exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to several customers without having reasonable grounds to believe his recommendations were suitable in relation to the holding periods for the ETFs. FINRA also alleged that Olson permitted the execution of options transactions in the account of a customer who was not approved for options activity.

Olson entered the securities industry in 1993.  In June 2006, Olson became registered at FlNRA firm Great Circle Financial until July 2013. From June 2013 until November 2013, Olson was registered with GBS Financial Corp. Finally, Olson is currently associated with Calton & Associates. This disciplinary matter is not the first time FINRA has sanctioned Olson. In January 2006, Olson consented to the entry of findings by NASD that he exercised discretion in customer accounts without obtaining written authorization. Olson was suspended for one month and fined $5,000.

FINRA alleged that from October 2010 through October 2012, Olson recommended transactions of various leveraged and inverse-leveraged ETFs in the accounts of five customers. As a background, these types of ETFs are designed to achieve their objectives over the course of a single day only and are generally not appropriate for long term holdings. By holding these ETFs over longer periods of time the value of the investment differs dramatically from the index it tracks because the investment is reset daily.

Paul Renard (Renard) a broker with SII Investments, Inc. (SII) was recently suspended for two years and fined $60,000 by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) over allegations that Renard: (1) recommended that at least four customers buy and hold nontraditional ETFs without having reasonable grounds for believing that the recommended investments were suitable for those customers; (2)  distributed at least nine independently prepared reprints to customers without Ameriprise’s review and approval; (3) used a personal email account, which Ameriprise did not monitor, to distribute the materials; and (4) failed to disclose two tax liens filed against him by the State of Wisconsin.  In addition, at least 21 customer complaints have been filed against Renard.

Renard was previously a registered representative of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc (Ameriprise) from August 21, 2009, until June 22, 2011, when Ameriprise terminated his registration alleging that Renard failed to comply with company policies by soliciting prohibited securities, use of external email account, and failed to properly update his disclosures.  Prior to Ameriprise Renard was registered with Securities America, Inc. from November 2009 through May 2011.  Renard’s BrokerCheck discloses that he is also the president of First Tee of Green Bay, a managing director of Reedsville Granary LLC, and employed with PDI Financial.

FINRA alleged that Ameriprise implemented a policy prohibiting its representatives from recommending or soliciting nontraditional ETFs. Under the policy, customers could hold existing nontraditional ETF positions but any new purchases could only occur on an unsolicited basis.  On September 2, 2009, Renard entered a solicited buy order for an inverse ETF in a customer’s account.  Ameriprise’s compliance department informed Renard that Ameriprise did not allow its representatives to solicit nontraditional ETF purchases.  Nonetheless, according to FINRA, Renard continued to solicit customers to purchase nontraditional ETFs.