The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to invest in Puerto Rico bonds and bond funds. The island has been meeting with creditors before a U.S. bankruptcy judge in the largest public finance restructuring case. The sides have been in mediation settlement talks to concerning the outcome of the island’s $70 billion debt. However, according to news reports, the process could take years. In fact, it has taken more than two years of debate with Puerto Rico’s government, creditors, and federal lawmakers just to get to this point.
According to some source Puerto Rico bond investors recovery ranges could be as low as 10 to 20 cents on the dollar when the island emerges. Why so little? How much can $70 to $100 billion be worth when there are only 1.4 million workers in Puerto Rico and a 45% poverty rate? In fact, workers are leaving the island in record numbers that will soon be made worse by Hurricane Maria. 84,000 people moved from Puerto Rico to the United States in 2014 resulting in 1.8% of the island leaving.
Mostly retail investors will be the victims of the Puerto Rico debt debacle. While news focus on hedge funds that have bought Puerto Rico bonds, only about 25 percent of Puerto Rican debt is held by hedge funds. Compare that to the estimated 500,000 individual bondholders and hundreds of thousands more investors who purchased Puerto Rico mutual funds.