Articles Tagged with leveraged ETFs

shutterstock_185582-300x225According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker James Dresselaers (Dresselaers) is under FINRA investigation and subject to one customer complaint.  Dresselaers is currently employed by H. Beck, Inc. (H. Beck).  The FINRA investigation is looking into potential violations of NASD Rules 2310 and 2110 or Rules 2111 and 2010 relating to the suitability of recommendations to purchase securities made to one customer.  In December 2015 a customer filed a complaint alleging Dresselaers that recommended unsuitable investments in exchange traded funds and equity securities.

A common problem with exchange traded funds is a subset of investments called leveraged exchanged traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs).  As a background, Non-Traditional ETFs behave drastically different and have different risk qualities from traditional ETFs.  While traditional ETFs seek to mirror an index or benchmark, Non-Traditional ETFs use a combination of derivatives instruments and debt to multiply returns on underlining assets, often attempting to generate 2 to 3 times the return of the underlining asset class.  Non-Traditional ETFs are also used to earn the inverse result of the return of the benchmark.

However, the risks of holding Non-Traditional ETFs go beyond merely multiplying the return on the index.  Instead, Non-Traditional ETFs are generally designed to be used only for short term trading as opposed to traditional ETFs.  The use of leverage employed by these funds causes their long-term values to be dramatically different than the underlying benchmark over long periods of time.  For example, between December 1, 2008, and April 30, 2009, the Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Index gained two percent while the ProShares Ultra Oil and Gas, a fund seeking to deliver twice the index’s daily return fell six percent.  In another example, the ProShares UltraShort Oil and Gas, seeks to deliver twice the inverse of the index’s daily return fell by 26 percent over the same period.

shutterstock_182054030Our 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, leveraged ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks.  Investors may have potential legal remedies due to unsuitable recommendations by their broker to invest in this speculative and volatile area. Targa Resources Partners (Ticker Symbol: NGLS) is a Master Limited Partnership (MLP). About 86% of the total MLP securities market, a $490 billion sector, can be attributed to energy and natural resource companies. Targa Resources Partners has declined about 81% in value over the last two years and is trading at less than $10 a share. According to its website, Targa Resources Partners is a growth-oriented provider of midstream services and one of the largest independent midstream energy companies operating in North America. The company owns, operates, acquires, and develops a diversified portfolio of midstream energy assets.

Our firm continues to file complaints on behalf of investors who have been overconcentrated in MLPs like Targa Resources Partners. 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.

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.

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_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_29356093The 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, and individual stocks. See Oil and Gas Investments – What Remedies Do Investors Have?; Overconcentrated in Oil and Gas Investments?; Oil and Gas Investments – Issuers Profit While Investors Take All the Risk; Atlas Energy Oil and Gas Investments: A Risky Proposition Part I; Gana Weinstein LLP Investigates Investor Losses Tied to Oil and Commodities Linked ETNs; Gana Weinstein LLP Investigates Investor Losses In Oil-Linked Structured Notes

According to a recent news article tracking oil and gas bankruptcies the pain in the industry is expected to continue. Nearly two dozen oil and gas companies have gone bankrupt in the past year including RAAM Global Energy Co., Endeavour International Corp. (ENDRQ), Quicksilver Resources Inc. (KWKAQ), Sabine Oil & Gas Corp. (SOGCQ), Hercules Offshore Inc. (HEROQ), Cal Dive International Inc. (CDVIQ), Dune Energy Inc. (DUNRQ), BPZ Resources Inc. (BPZRQ), ERG Intermediate Holdings LLC, American Eagle Energy Corp. (AMZGQ), Saratoga Resources Inc. (SARAQ), Milagro Oil & Gas Inc., and Miller Energy Resources Inc. (MILLQ). Canadian companies that entered bankruptcy include Verity Energy Ltd., Gasfrac Energy Services Inc., Southern Pacific Resource Corp., Laricina Energy Ltd., and Shoreline Energy Corp.

Not only have oil and gas companies gone bankrupt but companies that provide services to oil and gas companies have also been effected including A&B Valve and Piping Systems LLC, CCNG Energy Partners LP, and Boomerang Tube LLC.

shutterstock_836360The 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 Goodrich Petroleum Corp., (Goodrich) (Stock Symbol: GDP). Goodrich has gone through a number of negative events such as a credit downgrade, the company’s CFO resigned within a year of his predecessor, the chairman of the board announced his retirement for health reasons, and even Henry Goodrich, the company’s founder, has died. According to Bloomberg the company is laden with debt and investors are jockeying for position in a potential bankruptcy.

Recently, investors holding $158.2 million of Goodrich’s debt agreed to take 47 cents on the dollar in exchange for stock warrants for some note holders and a lien on Goodrich’s oil acreage. The purpose of the exchange was to place them in a better position if Goodrich liquidates its assets in bankruptcy.

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_156972491The 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 Magnum Hunter Resources Corp, (Magnum Hunter) (Stock Symbol: MHR). Magnum Hunter is mainly a natural gas producer that operates in the Marcellus and Utica shale fields located in Ohio and West Virginia. According to news sources the company is laden with debt and has been forced to cancel its dividends as well as hire a financial adviser to explore strategic alternatives to keep the company afloat amid the oil downturn.

The company has stated that it is actively working to repair its balance sheet by exploring assets sales among other measures. Magnum Hunter posted a net loss in the second quarter of $30.5 million on revenue of $39.9 million. The companies total liabilities were $1.1 billion.

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. 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_180412949The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned (Case No. 2014038906201) brokerage firm BestVest Investments, Ltd. (BestVest) concerning allegations that from January 2012, through August 2014, BestVest failed to establish and maintain a supervisory system reasonably designed to monitor transactions in leveraged, inverse, and inverse leveraged exchange traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs).

As a background, Non-Traditional ETFs behave drastically different and have different risk qualities from traditional ETFs. While traditional ETFs seek to mirror an index or benchmark, Non-Traditional ETFs use a combination of derivatives instruments and debt to multiply returns on underlining assets, often attempting to generate 2 to 3 times the return of the underlining asset class. Non-Traditional ETFs are also used to earn the inverse result of the return of the benchmark.

However, the risks of holding Non-Traditional ETFs go beyond merely multiplying the return on the index. Instead, Non-Traditional ETFs are generally designed to be used only for short term trading as opposed to traditional ETFs. The use of leverage employed by these funds causes their long-term values to be dramatically different than the underlying benchmark over long periods of time. For example, between December 1, 2008, and April 30, 2009, the Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Index gained two percent while the ProShares Ultra Oil and Gas, a fund seeking to deliver twice the index’s daily return fell six percent. In another example, the ProShares UltraShort Oil and Gas, seeks to deliver twice the inverse of the index’s daily return fell by 26 percent over the same period.

shutterstock_172154582The 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 Miller Energy Resources Inc. (Stock Symbol: MILL). According to a Wall Street Journal article, creditors of Miller’s Cook Inlet Energy LLC subsidiary filed an involuntary chapter 11 petition claiming about $2.8 million in debts owed.

The involuntary bankruptcy filing comes shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused the company of a valuation related accounting fraud. The SEC alleged that Miller Energy acquired oil and gas properties in Alaska in late 2009 for $2.5 million and then allegedly overstated the value of its holdings by more than $400 million in order to boost the company’s net income and assets.

The SEC’s complaint charged Miller Energy, its former chief financial officer and its current chief operating officer for allegedly inflating values of oil and gas properties. The alleged scheme had the effect of taking Miller Energy from a penny stock into a security that was listed on the New York Stock Exchange reaching a $9 per share high in 2013. Trading in Miller Energy was suspended at the end of July. Miller Energy stated that the SEC’s civil action is related to alleged valuation errors from five years ago and the action is not warranted by the facts or the law.

shutterstock_20354401The 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.  Two companies that appear vulnerable include Linn Energy (Stock Symbol: LINE) and Energy XXI Ltd. (Stock Symbol: EXXI). While these companies have not yet declared bankruptcy their stock prices have fallen by well over 90% in the last year.

Many oil companies rely on borrowing lines of credit from banks in order to make investments in their business operations. Some of these lines of credit will come up for renewal on October 1. At which time, according to TheStreet.com banks will look back at the last twelve months to the average price of oil which stood at about $45. This will cause the banks then to reduce the amount of money available to borrow in half compared to a year ago. Due to the reduced credit and access to capital it will become very difficult for companies like Linn Energy and Energy XXI to continue investing and drilling.

For instance Linn Energy and Energy XXI have already exhausted more than 75% of the credit available to them and may be forced in bankruptcy.