January 21, 2016 Comments (0) Blog

Pengrowth Energy Trust Securities Investigation

(Last Updated On: January 21, 2016)

Have you suffered losses investing in Pengrowth Energy Trust?  If so, the securities attorneys of The White Law Group may be able to help you recover your losses in a FINRA arbitration claim against the brokerage firm that recommended the investment.

Pengrowth Energy Corp. is an oil and gas operating company. The Company has assets located accross the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and offshore Nova Scotia. Pengrowth has business units in light oil, heavy oil, conventional gas, shallow and unconventional gas, offshore gas, and oil sands.  According to Bloomberg, the trust is down over 73% in the last year.

A unit investment trust (UIT) is an exchange-traded mutual fund offering a fixed (unmanaged) portfolio of securities having a definite life.  The major distinguishing factor between a mutual fund and a UIT is that since it is unmanaged, the investments don’t change (i.e. you own a basket of investments that remain the same during the duration of the UIT).  (For a great article on the pros and cons of UITs visit http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-pros-and-cons-of-buying-unit-investment-trusts-1446433527)

By definition, oil and gas UITs are very similar to other UITs that invest in stocks or real estate. Each trust is broken down into individual units that are priced and sold to investors. Each unit represents an undivided proportional interest in all of the oil and gas properties held by the trust, and each trust has a set maturity date upon which all gains and losses from the sale of the assets are dispersed to the unit-holders.

Unlike stock unit trusts or real estate investment trusts (REITs), oil and gas UITs invest directly in either production or exploratory drilling oil and gas assets, then pass through the income and expenses realized from the actual production of oil and natural gas.

The main problem with UITs is that since they are unmanaged, if the market moves against the positions in the UIT you are stuck holding those positions until the end of the UITs duration (as opposed to a mutual fund where the money manager can make adjustments and dump underperforming investments).  This can be particularly troubling in very hard hit sectors like the oil and gas market over the last year to 18 months.

Many UITs focused on the oil and gas sector, like Pengrowth Energy Trust, have suffered enormous losses as the oil and gas sector has collapsed amid declining oil prices.

Another problem with UITs is their commission structure.  UITs are extremely high commission, often explaining the motivation of the sales agent in recommending the investments.

The White Law Group is investigating the liability brokerage firms may have for recommending UITs, like Pengrowth Energy Trust, that are focused on the oil and gas sector.  Brokerage firms are required to perform adequate due diligence on any investment they recommend and to ensure that all recommendations are suitable for the investor in light of that particular investor’s age, investment experience, net worth, investment objectives, and income.  Firms that fail to perform adequate due diligence or that make unsuitable recommendations can be held responsible for investment losses in a FINRA arbitration claim.

If you suffered losses in Pengrowth Energy Trust or another oil and gas UIT and would like to discuss your litigation options, please call the securities attorneys of The White Law Group at 312/238-9650 for a free consultation.

The White Law Group is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, and investor protection law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Vero Beach, Florida.  The firm represents investors in FINRA arbitration claims throughout the country.  For more information on the firm, visit http://www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.