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Articles Posted in Hedge Funds

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Investors who have suffered losses due to the recommendation of a stockbroker or financial advisor to invest in the hedge fund Astenbeck Master Commodities Fund II (“Astenbeck II”) may be able to recover losses through FINRA arbitration if the investment recommendation was unsuitable, or the nature of the investment was misrepresented by the advisor.
According to reports by Bloomberg, Astenbeck II posted large losses through the first half of 2017.  In fact, in June 2017 alone, the hedge fund plummeted nearly 30% as reported by Bloomberg.  Consequently, Astenbeck Capital Management decided to pull the plug and shut down Astenbeck II, the main hedge fund vehicle under the Astenbeck Capital Management umbrella.

Astenbeck II appears to have suffered losses part due to a heavy “long” position in crude oil.  Unfortunately for investors, crude oil has not recovered from the prices of over $100 per barrel of crude as seen in 2014.  In fact, as of early October 2017, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”) crude oil continues to hover around $50.

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Platinum Partners LP Funds are under scrutiny after federal agents reportedly raided the funds’ New York offices in July 2016.  Hedge fund entities sponsored by Platinum Partners include the Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Funds, the Platinum Partners Credit Opportunities Fund, Platinum Credit Holdings LLC, Platinum Credit Management LP, Platinum Partners Value Corp., and Platinum Management (NY) LLC.

15.2.17 piggybank in a cageIn June, the New York-based hedge fund manager reportedly began liquidating its funds, after the firm’s longtime associate Murray Huberfeld (Huberfeld) was accused of arranging for a $60,000 bribe and kickback, in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag, to Norman Seabrook, President of the New York correctional officers’ union.  Seabrook allegedly directed $20 million in union investments into the Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund. Seabrook has denied that he is guilty of any charges.

Later, Cayman Islands Judge ­Andrew Jones reportedly ordered that a new advisor take control of the international arm of Platinum’s flagship fund, which is based in the Caymans, after an investor claimed he has not been able to gain access to his money since 2015.

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Investor lawyers say the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) found supervisory deficiencies related to investment concentration at leading independent broker-dealer LPL Finanical.    As a result of alleged unsuitable recommendations, FINRA has announced a penalty in the form of a $950,000 against LPL Financial.

Supervisory Failure Leaves LPL Financial with Heavy Fines

Alternative investments can include a variety of products, including oil and gas partnerships, hedge funds, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), business development companies (BDCs) and other related categories.  Though LPL Financial set forth guidelines to manage investment concentration, FINRA reports that from January 2008 until July 2012, there was no internal effort to enforce these guidelines.  As a result, some clients may have received investment advice that resulted in levels of concentration that were excessive.

 If you suffered significant losses as a result of an unsuitable recommendation to purchase or over-concentrate your portfolio in non-conventional investments (whether from LPL or another stockbroker or financial advisor), you may be able to recover your losses through securities arbitration. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a securities arbitration lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or for a no-cost, confidential consultation.

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Securities fraud attorneys are investigating claims on behalf of customers of LPL Financial LLC. This move comes on the heels of an announcement on March 24, 2014 from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) which stated that the firm had been fined $950,000 for supervisory failures related to alternative investment sales.

Unsuitable Alternative Investment Sales: LPL Customers Could Recover Losses

These investments included:

  • Non-traded real estate investment trusts, or REITs
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Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of doing business with CRL Management LLC and Charles R. Langston III. Langston, a hedge fund manager, conducts business with Miami-based CRL Management. In October, a lawsuit was filed against both he and the firm, alleging fraudulent solicitation of more than $14 million in investor funds.

CRL Management Charles R. Langston III Investors Could Recover Losses

Allegedly, Langston made material misrepresentations about the nature of the fees, commissions and/or investments. Furthermore, he allegedly claimed that he would invest several million dollars of personal funds in an investment vehicle. According to the claim, CRL Management and Langston misrepresented an investment vehicle they were promoting. In addition, it was allegedly not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Securities arbitration lawyers say that as a result of the actions of CRL Management and Langston, one investor lost more than $3.5 million. In addition, it cost the investor more than $1 million in commissions and fees. Furthermore, a recent arbitration award from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered CRL Management to pay $1,312,949.31 for breach of contract.

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  Reportedly, 15 brokerage firms have been subpoenaed by the Commonwealth of  Massachusetts as part of an  investigation into sales of alternative investments to senior citizens.

15 Brokerage Firms Subpoenaed Over Alternative Investment Sales

The following firms have reportedly been subpoenaed: Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, UBS Securities LLC, Charles Schwab & Co. Inc., Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Wells Fargo Advisors, ING Financial Partners Inc., TD Ameritrade Inc., LPL Financial LLC, MML Investor Services LLC, Commonwealth Financial Network, Investors Capital Corp., WFG Investments Inc. and Signator Investors Inc.

According to securities arbitration lawyers, the state sent subpoenas to the firms on July 10, 2013, requesting information regarding the sale of certain products to Massachusetts residents 65 or older over the last year. Nontraditional investments include private placements, hedge funds, oil and gas partnerships, tenant-in-common offerings, and structured products.

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Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses in their accounts with GenSpring Family Offices LLC, a firm owned by a wholly-owned SunTrust subsidiary. Reportedly, arbitration cases have already been filed on behalf of ultra-high-net-worth investors which allege mishandling of investment accounts by GenSpring.

GenSpring Clients Could Recover Losses

In one case, the investors’ trust interviewed multiple money managers and investment firms including Credit Sussie, CitiGroup, Deutsche Bank, LaSalle Bank and Goldman Sachs. All of these firms recommended diversification across traditional asset classes, such as bonds and equities, as well as selective investments in alternative products for special situations.

However, the claim asserts that GenSpring stood out because of its unique approach which would provide better downside protection and better returns through the use of Multi-Strategy Hedge Funds, such as Silver Creek Funds, instead of the bond or fixed income portion of client portfolios. Allegedly, GenSpring officials claimed that their approach, which had been tested thoroughly, would behave like traditional bonds in terms of asset class correlation and volatility while providing returns across all market cycles that were superior to traditional bonds. The trust invested approximately $10 million and stated its primary goal as capital preservation.

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Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of doing business with VSR Financial Services and/or Michael David Shaw, a financial advisor. Allegedly, Shaw and VSR Financial Services may have engaged in misconduct in connection with the sales of REITs, alternative investments, hedge funds and private placements.

Title of the Post Goes Here

Reportedly, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority accepted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent on May 15, 2013 from VSR Financial Services. In the letter, the firm agreed to pay a fine of $550,000 which will settle allegations that the firm failed to adequately supervise the sales of alternative investments to customers. In particular, the firm allegedly failed to supervise the concentration of these investments in customer portfolios.

In addition, securities arbitration lawyers say that in October 2011, a trader calling himself Michael Daniel Shaw submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent. In this letter he consented to the findings that he had recommended the sale of private placements, which were high-risk, to customers for whom he did not have a reasonable basis to believe they were suitable transactions. Furthermore, Shaw allegedly made material omissions or misrepresentations regarding the purchase or sales of the private placements.

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Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors with full-service brokerage firms who suffered significant losses as a result of their investment in Paulson & Co.’s Advantage and Advantage Plus hedge funds. Reportedly, the Advantage Fund’s value declined 51 percent in 2011 and 19 percent in 2012. According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, many major brokerage firms including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and UBS Financial Services used proprietary “feeder” funds to invest in the Paulson funds.

Paulson Hedge Fund and Full-Service Brokerage Firm Feeder Fund Investors Could Recover Losses

The feeder funds used by full-service brokerage firms to invest in Paulson’s Advantage and Advantage Plus Funds went by a variety of names, such as LionHedge Paulson, UBS Paulson Advantage Fund, Morgan Stanley HedgePremier Paulson, Paulson Advantage Access Fund and CAIS Paulson. Stock fraud lawyers say that all of the aforementioned funds invest in Paulson’s funds and that in some cases they may not have provided oversight or due diligence in the funds, despite representations made to investors.

Following the Advantage Fund’s decline, in May 2012 the fund was put on Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s “watch list” and investors are now being advised to redeem. Three months later, Citigroup reportedly made a similar decision, pulling $410 million from Paulson’s funds. In light of the fact that the Paulson funds were sued by an investor in February 2012, many investors are contacting securities fraud attorneys about their losses. In the 2012 lawsuit, both Paulson & Co. and its funds were charged with deeply investing into SinoForest without conducting adequate due diligence and accused of breach of fiduciary duty.

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Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses in the UBS Willow Fund, sold by UBS Financial Services. Formed in 2000, the UBS Willow Fund is a private hedge fund. Reportedly, investors were notified in October 2012 that the Willow Fund had sustained substantial losses and would be liquidated.

Allegedly, UBS may have offered and sold the UBS Willow fund to investors — particularly customers with low risk tolerance seeking stable income, such as retirees — while marketing it as a safe, reliable investment. However, the fund has suffered a decline of around 80 percent. Investigations are also underway to determine if UBS Financial Services adequately disclosed or misrepresented the material risks of this investment to clients.

In some cases, securities fraud attorneys say that investors’ portfolios may have been over-concentrated in the UBS Willow Fund. If so, these portfolios may have been mismanaged, given that risk management strategies were available that would have offered investors protection for the value of their portfolio.

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