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On May 3, 2017, Puerto Rico filed for a form of bankruptcy protection pursuant to a federal law passed in 2016 known as Promesa, thereby allowing Puerto Rico to facilitate a debt restructuring process in court akin to U.S. bankruptcy protection.

As recently reported in Barron’s, Puerto Rico’s bonds backed by sales tax revenue, known as COFINAS, witnessed significant price depreciation since initiation of the bankruptcy-like proceeding in early May 2017. And on May 30, 2017, U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ordered that interest payments on COFINAS be suspended, pending anticipated litigation concerning whether holders of Puerto Rico’s General Obligation Bonds (“GOs”) or COFINAS should receive first claim to any payments ordered through a debt restructuring. Amey Stone, Puerto Rico’s Cofina Bond Payments Suspended by Judge, May 31, 2017.

San Juan, Puerto Rico Coast

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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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