We are investigating losses sustained by investors in Master Limited Partnerships (“MLP”). This includes all MLP investments including but not limited to UBS ETRACS, Enbridge Energy Partners, EV Enterprise Partners, and Eagle Rock Energy Partners. If you have suffered such losses please call toll-free 1-866-817-0201.
MLPs are sometimes referred to as “SSPs” and other names. There are limited types of investors to whom such investments could be legally sold. Selling such high-commissioned investments when they contradict the objectives or needs of an investor, making them “unsuitable” for certain investors, is a form of fraud. In August 2015, the SEC conducted an examination of firms selling MLPs.
Among other things, the SEC regulatory examinations revealed several significant deficiencies in the areas of suitability and supervision with respect to all of the examined firms’ recommendations and sales of MLPs to retail investors. Specifically, all of the examined firms: “Failed to maintain and/or enforce adequate controls relating to determining the suitability of MLP recommendations;” and “Failed to conduct both compliance and supervisory reviews of registered representatives’ (“representatives”) determinations of customer suitability in the MLPs, as required by their internal controls.”
MLPs have been increasingly marketed to retail investors, who have been interested in generating income in the low-yield interest-rate environment that has persisted since the financial crisis. Additionally, MLPs may offer attractive attributes such as partial or full “principal protection” or exposure to a particular asset class.
MLPs often provide for payments determined by reference to other assets or indices and may be more complex than a simple debt instrument with a stated interest rate. However, these investments have always been known to carry a high degree of risk. A central aspect of a broker-dealer’s duty of fair dealing is the suitability obligation, which generally requires a broker-dealer to make recommendations that are consistent with the best interests of its customer. So investments must be of the character and have the level of risk that is consistent with these wants and needs. This “suitability” obligation is a requirement under the antifraud provisions of the state and federal securities laws, and also requirement of a brokerage firm’s membership in FINRA.
FINRA also requires brokerages to supervise their representatives, and the Exchange Act, the federal securities law, permits the SEC to sanction broker-dealers who fail reasonably to supervise, with a view to preventing violations of the state and federal securities laws by a person subject to their supervision. In addition, FINRA has released guidance to help assess the adequacy of controls with respect to MLPs and complex products that members should include in their supervisory and compliance procedures.
For more information on MLPs containing LINN Energy, also known as LINE, see the following: www.jpedersonlaw.com/blog/linn-energy-losses/
Jeffrey Pederson has represented investors in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut , Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming, in FINRA arbitration actions against securities brokerage firms for unsuitable investments. Please call for a confidential and free consultation.