Securities fraud lawyers continue to investigate claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses as a result of the unsuitable recommendation and sale of Puerto Rico bonds and UBS Puerto Rico bond funds in light of the products’ downgrade to “junk bond” status. Reportedly, earlier this month Standard & Poor downgraded most of the Puerto Rico bonds to “high-risk junk bond” status.
This is bad news for a lot of investors, as about 70 percent of U.S. municipal bond funds currently hold some portion of Puerto Rico bonds and those funds that are required to hold investment-grade bonds will be forced to sell the Puerto Rico bonds at significant discounts. According to stock fraud lawyers, this selling pressure may result in bond holders seeing significant price drops. In addition, the downgrade could throw a wrench in Puerto Rico’s plan to borrow $1-2 billion in the near future. Puerto Rico would likely have to agree to a much higher interest rate for investors to accept the risks associated with the bonds.
Puerto Rico bond investors suffered losses of more than 20 percent in 2013, with even higher losses for investors who were exposed to the internal leverage (or borrowing of money to buy additional municipal bonds) in UBS Puerto Rico bond funds. Investors who were 50 percent leveraged reportedly experienced losses of around 40 percent. In addition, securities fraud attorneys say that many investors were convinced to use a margin account, a second mortgage or a bank loan to borrow more money for larger investments. Both of these recommendations carried significant risk and were unsuitable for many investors.