Articles Tagged with Morgan Stanley

FINRA issued an award in the arbitration between claimants Joseph R. Ritz, Susan F. Ritz and respondents Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (#CRD 149777) and Charles Alan Correal (CRD# 1366202).

According to the award documentation, the claimants asserted claims for breach of fiduciary duty, violations of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, suitability, professional negligence, breach of contract and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, failure to supervise  and vicarious liability by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and Charles Alan Correal.

The claimants allege that respondents invested their funds in risky and unsuitable energy stocks, including Seadrill, Ltd., Copano Energy LLC, and Interoil.

Rising oil prices apparently are not enough to save the once-promising master limited partnership (“MLP”) Seadrill Limited.  Seadrill stock plummeted, going down 54% on April 4, 2017 as the company announced that it will likely file for bankruptcy.

The most ominous news from Seadrill was its warning to investors of its substantial debt load and its expectation that shareholders are “likely to receive minimal recovery for their existing shares.”

Seadrill, as many oil and gas companies, has seen its value drop dramatically over the last three (3) years.  But the company was once highly-valued by Wall Street, with a market capitalization of $23.7 billion as recently as 2013.  Today, the company has dropped approximately 98% in value and sits at a market capitalization of just under $400 million.

Our attorneys are investigating potential legal claims against Las Cruces, New Mexico-based Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (CRD# 19616) broker Jeffrey R. Wilson (CRD# 1161819) concerning allegations that Wilson unsuitably recommended Wells Fargo customers to invest in oil, gas and energy investments.

Wilson’s FINRA BrokerCheck report reflects three customer complaints, all of which involve allegations of unsuitable investments.

In a customer complaint to Wells Fargo concerning Wilson, the investor alleged unsuitable energy and other investments.  Wells Fargo paid $250,000.00 to resolve the complaint.

According to PLS, Inc., a Houston-based oil and gas research firm, the oil and gas industry raised quite a bit of money in 2016 despite featuring almost 115 bankruptcies over the last two (2) years.

PLS compiled data reviewing the capital markets activity for 2016 according to a news release.  Some of the more notable figures included the $186 billion the oil and gas industry raised through U.S. public offerings across 346 bond and equity deals.  The $186 billion raised was actually $10 billion less than what was raised in 2015, according to PLS.

According to PLS, banks obtained an aggregate of $2.3 billion in fees on the money raised in 2016.  PLS also listed the top-10 banks for U.S. energy equity deals in 2016.  Among others, notable inclusions in that list were Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Credit Suisse, RBC Capital Markets, Citigroup, and Wells Fargo.

Our attorneys are investigating the suitability of recommendations made by Morgan Stanley (CRD# 149777) and its financial advisors to invest in Seadrill Ltd. and other oil and gas investments and master limited partnerships (“MLPs”).

Morgan Stanley has touted Seadrill at multiple points during the oil and gas investment’s life.  Morgan Stanley served as a book-running manager and underwriter of Seadrill’s initial public offering (“IPO”).  Morgan Stanley has served in similar capacities in at least one other Seadrill public offering.

Morgan Stanley has also featured Seadrill as a presenter at one of its energy conferences in 2014Seadrill hired Morgan Stanley as an advisor on debt talks for the company in 2016.  As recently as February 2017, Morgan Stanley upgraded its outlook on Seadrill.  Now, it appears only two (2) analysts cover Seadrill due to its most recent drop in value.  It’s not clear if one of those two is Morgan Stanley.

In April 2016, Peabody Energy Corp. (“Peabody”), a one-time Wall Street darling based in St. Louis, Missouri filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.  Almost a year to the day, Peabody emerged from bankruptcy on Monday, April 3, 2017.  A day later, another one-time Wall Street darling, Seadrill (ticker “SDRL”), a deepwater drilling contractor that provides drilling services to the oil and gas industry, declined 54% following its warning to investors that the Bermuda-based company is likely to seek bankruptcy protection (or the equivalent) in the United States or United Kingdom (company headquarters).

Seadrill is just another corporate casualty among the hundreds of oil, gas, coal and energy companies that filed and sought bankruptcy production since early 2015.  The Securities Arbitration and Investment Litigation Lawyers at the Silver Law Group, The Law Office of David Chase, P.A. and Ciklin Lubitz & O’Connell ( are currently investigating cases relating to investments in Peabody and Seadrill, as well as many other similarly-fated oil, gas, coal and energy producing companies, such as Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Linn Energy – which have all filed for bankruptcy.

Like many other energy companies, Seadrill is likely to follow a familiar “play book”:  seek Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection, negotiate golden parachutes for its executive team, renegotiate debt and credit, emerge from bankruptcy, and leave numerous investors with little or nothing to show for their principal invested.

Our attorneys are investigating former Morgan Stanley (CRD# 149777) broker Andrew Yocum (“Yocum”) for numerous investor claims of unsuitable and overconcentrated investments in oil- and gas- related investments.

Yocum (CRD# 4590723) has had a total of 35 disclosures on his FINRA BrokerCheck report, all of them reported within the last year and all but one pertaining to unsuitable and overconcentrated investments in oil- and gas-related securities.  The outlier is an employment termination by Morgan Stanley due to allegations of unauthorized trading.

Yocum operated out of the Morgan Stanley offices in The Villages, Florida, a planned, age-restricted community primarily populated by retired individuals.

Our attorneys are investigating Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Morgan Stanley (CRD# 149777) broker Joseph P. McGinley (CRD# 327656) after a FINRA arbitration claim alleging multiple securities violations involving LinnCo. Energy and Sandridge Energy settled.

According to McGinley’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, the claim settled in September 2015 and involved McGinley’s investment activities from April 2012 to May 2015.

Morgan Stanley has employed McGinley since April 2011 at its Philadelphia, Pennsylvania branch.

Linn Energy exited its chapter 11 bankruptcy leaving many shareholders with nothing but a worthless piece of paper.

Linn Energy is an oil and gas master limited partnership (“MLP”) founded in 2003.  The company went public just three (3) years later in 2006, raising approximately $261 million.

Linn Energy was once the darling of the oil and gas industry, reaching peaks of $40 per share in late 2012.  The company went on an acquisition spree, including Berry Petroleum for $4.3 billion at the height of the oil boom in 2013.  Unfortunately, the oil boom didn’t last, and the debt Linn Energy took on was too large to support when the price of oil began to plunge in June 2014.

Our attorneys are investigating claims against Las Cruces, New Mexico-based Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (CRD# 19616) broker Jeffrey (Jeff) R. Wilson (CRD# 1161819) over allegations that Wilson unsuitably recommended Wells Fargo customers to invest in oil, gas and energy investments.

Las Cruces, New Mexico Broker Jeff Wilson

According to Wilson’s FINRA BrokerCheck report, Jeff Wilson has three (3) disclosures, all of which feature aggrieved investors recovering some of their investment losses.

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