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Our experts frequently write blog posts about the findings of the research we are conducting.

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More Impossible Trade Prices Caused by Auto-liquidators: Option Combinations

In three previous blog posts, we documented how auto-liquidators execute option trades at distorted prices to their clients' detriment. The price distortions are caused by the price impact of large sell or buy orders on thinly traded securities. These distortions were reversed within minutes, but not before causing investors millions of dollars of unnecessary losses.

In "The Recent Market Turmoil Spells Trouble for Auto-liquidators like Interactive Brokers", we showed that thinly traded...

More Non-traded REIT Perfidy: The Roll-up Grift

We have extensively researched non-traded REITs and concluded that these illiquid direct participation programs have cost investors $50 billion compared to more liquid investments in traded REITs. Our Fiduciary Duties and Non-traded REITs provides a good overview of the problems with non-traded REITs and a summary of our empirical results. An Empirical Analysis of Non-Traded REITs contains a more detailed explanation of our research. See our previous blog posts on individual non-traded...

Only a Faulty Auto-liquidator Pays More for An Option Than it Can Ever Be Worth

In two previous blog posts we documented how auto-liquidators appear to have executed option trades at distorted prices to their clients' detriment on August 24, 2015. The price distortions were caused by massive sell or buy orders on thinly traded securities being dumped into the market by auto-liquidation programs. These distortions were reversed within minutes, but not before causing investors millions of dollars of unnecessary losses.

In "The Recent Market Turmoil Spells Trouble for...

UBS Puerto Rico Still Can't Shoot Straight

We've written extensively about the investment carnage caused by UBS Puerto Rico's management and sales of closed end municipal bonds funds. A summary of our findings can be found here: UBS Puerto Rico's Bond Fund Debacle: What We Know So Far .

Others will have to decide whether UBS was just incompetent or also wolfishly indifferent to Puerto Rico investors but recent evidence demonstrates that UBS Asset Managers of Puerto Rico continues to be, at least, incompetent.

The fourteen closed end...

More Signs of Trouble for Auto Liquidators

In "The Recent Market Turmoil Spells Trouble for Auto Liquidators Like Interactive Brokers" we wrote about how the market decline on August 24, 2015 revealed continuing problems at auto-liquidating brokerage firms that cater to active traders. These active traders' accounts typically are subject to "portfolio margin" requirements which we have written about at length. 1

We showed that thinly traded long-dated, deep out-of-the money SPX put options were bought on August 24, 2015 at...

Pension Purchase Agreements; The worst "investment" in the world?

In recent years, platforms for buying and selling pension benefit payments have been created and gained traction. Voyager Financial Group (VFG) operated one of the largest and most active exchanges for buying and selling pension payments. There is limited information available on the size of this market because these firms have operated under the radar of securities regulators.

In pension benefit agreements, a pensioner agrees to turn over a specific number of their future pension benefit...

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - September 21st, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Obtains $30 Million from Traders who Profited on Hacked News Releases
September 14, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 191)
Ukrainian-based firm Jaspen Capital Partners and their CEO Andriy Supranonok have agreed to settle charges that they profited off of hacked, nonpublic information. The SEC have charged 34 people in a scheme that allegedly hacked into newswire services and transmitted the stolen data to international traders. The traders allegedly generated over...

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - September 5th, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Halts Ongoing Fraud in Minnesota
September 2, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 176)
James M. Louks and FiberPop Solutions Inc. are being charged with fraud and are being ordered to stop raising money from investors. Fiberpop was founded in 2003 as a builder and operator of fiber optic networks and data centers. The SEC alleges that although almost 100 investors were convinced to purchase notes to fund the company's business, Fiberpop has no operators or employees....

Enforcement Actions: Week in Review - August 28th, 2015

SEC ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS

SEC Announces Asset Freeze against Alleged EB-5 Fraudster in Seattle Area
August 25, 2015 (Litigation Release No. 173)
Lobsang Dargey, owner of multiple "Path America" companies including Path America SnoCo and Path America KingCo, is accused of defrauding Chinese investors who were seeking American citizenship through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program. The EB-5 program states foreign citizens may qualify for U.S. residency if they make an investment of...

The Recent Market Turmoil Spells Trouble for "Auto-liquidators" like Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers Group, Inc. (IB) caters to active traders including those who trade futures and options. These active traders' accounts typically are subject to "portfolio margin" requirements which we have written about at length. 1 IB requires its customers to agree to have IB auto-liquidate positions when accounts are in a margin deficit.

IB's auto-liquidation procedures were the focus of a FINRA arbitration earlier this year in which the Claimant, Glen Lyon Long-Term Options, LP,...

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