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Silver Law Group is investigating investor claims for possible securities laws violations of LJM Preservation and Growth Fund (Stock Symbol: LJMIX).

The LJM Preservation and Growth Fund (“LJMIX”) is a mutual fund that is marketed and sold with the investment goal of preserving capital even in down markets.  The mutual fund, allegedly, attempts to preserve its investors’ capital by using put option spreads as a form of mitigation risk.

The once-$800 million fund lost more than 80 percent of its value between February 2-7, 2018. On February 8, 2018, LJMIX announced that it would not be accepting new investments into the mutual fund.  According to a letter published by the mutual fund, LJMIX liquidated all its open positions and the mutual fund currently only holds cash.

Morgan Stanley Discharges and FINRA Permanently Bars Broker Samuel Wylie Sloane on silverlaw.comFINRA entered into a settlement with Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (CRD# 13572) over improprieties related to mutual sales fund charge waivers.

According to the Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC’) entered into between Cetera and FINRA, Cetera disadvantaged certain retirement plan and charitable organization customers that were eligible to purchase certain shares in mutual funds without a front-end sales charge.  Instead, Cetera sold these customers shares with front-end or back-end sales charges and higher ongoing fees and expenses.

Cetera did not waive the additional mutual fund sales charge even though customers qualified for it and, according to the AWC, Cetera carried on this conduct between July 2009 and January 2017.

With Puerto Rico’s credit issues and default taking front and center in the media, people may not realize that the damage from what is going on is not limited to Puerto Rico but may affect a number of U.S. Mutual Fund Companies.  In fact, the average, small passive investor may not appreciate that the mutual fund he and/or she owns actually holds a significant amount of Puerto Rico debt.  Several municipal bond funds hold a large percentage of Puerto Rico municipal bonds despite the negative publicity and questions that have been raised about Puerto Rico and its ability to meet its obligations.

Here is a sample list of some mutual fund companies holdings a large percentage of Puerto Rican debt:

  • Oppenheimer Rochester Maryland Municipal;

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced a fine against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. for $8 million for charging excessive mutual fund sales charges for retirement accounts. FINRA also ordered Merrill Lynch to pay $24.4 million in restitution to damaged customers on top of $64 million Merrill Lynch has already compensated damaged investors. According to the FINRA decision, mutual funds offer several classes of shares, each with different sales charges and fees and many mutual funds waive their initial charges for retirement accounts.  However, Merrill Lynch failed to pass these savings on to the investors.

Merrill Lynch’s retail platform frequently offered such discounts to retirement plan accounts and disclosed those waivers in their prospectuses. However, Merrill Lynch failed to frequently pass these savings on to the investors including retirement accounts.  Accordingly, about 41,000 small business retirement plan accounts, and approximately 6,800 charities and 403(b) retirement accounts available to ministers and employees of public schools, either paid sales charges when purchasing Class A shares, or purchased other share classes that unnecessarily subjected them to higher ongoing fees and expenses. Incredibly, in 2006, Merrill Lynch learned its small business retirement plan customers were overpaying, but continued to sell them more costly shares and failed to report the issue to FINRA for more than five years.

If you believe your portfolio was improperly managed or was charged excessive fees or costs, Silver Law Group will analyze your portfolio at no charge.   Additionally, if you have questions about your legal rights, or have been the victim of investment fraud, please contact Scott Silver of the Silver Law Group for a free consultation at ssilver@silverlaw.com or Toll Free at (800) 975-4345.

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