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Articles Tagged with ETFs

Published on: who bought into inverse volatility-linked exchange traded funds (ETFs) on the recommendation of their broker or financial advisor may be able to recover their losses in FINRA arbitration.  Inverse volatility-linked investments are designed to return a profit when the market experiences periods of calmness, or low volatility.  However, unlike more traditional investments and strategies such as a buy-and-hold stock portfolio, investing in volatility-linked products is extremely complex and risky, and therefore, not likely a suitable strategy for the average, retail investor.

Certain inverse ETFs are structured to provide investors with returns that are positive when the  CBOE Volatility Index (the “VIX”) falls, and negative when the VIX rises, and investors in these products essentially are taking the view that the market will remain relatively steady.  However, earlier this month stock market volatility and the VIX rose rapidly as the stock market whipsawed erratically.

ETFs that lost value during this market turmoil include the following:

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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 William Wayne LaRue, a former Stephens Inc. stockbroker. The claims are regarding unauthorized and/or unsuitable trades in inverse and leveraged exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, as well as other products.

LaRue Customer Loss Recovery for Unsuitable Exchange-traded Fund Transactions Possible

Reportedly, in early 2012, one of LaRue’s clients made a complaint that LaRue had executed a series of unauthorized trades on her account prior to his departure. As a result of the complaint, the Arkansas Securities Department reportedly discovered similar problems in other customer accounts, as well as other violations.

“The unauthorized trading was occurring in margin accounts,” says Scott Freydl of the ASD. “In looking at this, we saw there were leveraged and inverse exchange traded funds. That’s when the issue of suitability came up.”

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Following the dismissal of the class action lawsuit against ProShares, securities fraud attorneys are investigating potential claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of their investment in the ProShares leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds.

ProShares Investors Could Still Recover Losses Following Class Action Lawsuit Dismissal

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York recently dismissed the class action lawsuit that was reportedly filed in 2009. According to securities arbitration lawyers, reports indicated that the plaintiffs’ claims that certain risks were omitted from the registration statements disclosures were rejected by the courts. Reportedly, these omitted risks were associated with holding inverse and leveraged exchange-trade funds, or ETFs, for periods exceeding one day.

In a warning issued by FINRA, the regulatory authority stated that leverage inverse ETFs are unsuitable for ordinary investors and that these investments should be held for a short time period only. Brokers have been known to sell ETFs and ETNs as conservative ways to track a sector of the market, or the market as a whole. However, complicated trading strategies are necessary to accomplish this, and using these investments to track a sector of the market may or may not be a conservative trading strategy. This depends on the sector of the market and assets in the account relative to the investment’s concentration level. For more information on ETFs and ETNs, see the previous blog post, “Investors Could Recover Losses from their Inverse ETF and ETN Investments.

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