Can I Recover Oil and Gas Sector Losses from Former Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor Michael Fitz-Gerald?

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Erez Law is currently investigating former Morgan Stanley financial advisor Michael Fitz-Gerald (CRD# 209062) regarding oil and gas sector losses. Fitz-Gerald was registered with Morgan Stanley in San Francisco, California from 2009 to June 2018.

According to public records, a former customer of Fitz-Gerald filed a FINRA arbitration for $240,000 for alleged losses due to investments in the high risk oil and gas sector. The couple entrusted Fitz-Gerald with $450,000 from an inheritance, and they were looking to generate a stable income stream to sustain them through retirement. It is alleged that Fitz-Gerald recommended the couple concentrate 60% of their accounts in the high risk oil and gas sector, including Linn Energy.

Over the past few years, oil prices have significantly declined. A supply glut in 2014 and 2015 led to some of the lowest prices the market has seen in recent years. In turn, securities values also dropped, including the values of Linn Energy. The volatile energy sector experienced significant turmoil, and many energy companies were negatively impacted when global crude oil prices fell below $40 per barrel at the end of 2015. This was the lowest level since early 2009, as supply was in excess of global demand. Oil and gas companies experienced a spike in bankruptcies, which have left many investors reeling.

Linn Energy was an oil and natural gas company headquartered in Houston, Texas. When global crude oil prices dropped, Linn Energy accrued significant debt. According to the company, Linn Energy, LLC filed a voluntary petition for restructuring under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in May 2016 to alleviate itself of $6.06 billion in debt. In February 2017, LINN Energy, Inc. was formed as the reorganized successor to Linn Energy, LLC.

Fitz-Gerald has been the subject of six customer complaints between 1987 and 2018, according to his CRD report. Recent complaints include:

  • June 2018. “Claimants allege, inter alia, unsuitability with respect to investments in accounts -2014 to 2015.” The customer is seeking $240,000 in damages and the case is currently pending.
  • February 2017. “Client alleged that his portfolio was not sufficiently diversified from 2012 to 2016.” The customer sought $2,348,175 in damages and the case was settled for $185,000.
  • February 2016. “Client alleges his portfolio was not sufficiently diversified – 2010 – 2015. Damaged unspecified.” The case was settled for $50,000.

Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, Morgan Stanley may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by Fitz-Gerald’s customers.

Erez Law represents investors in the United States for claims against brokers and brokerage firms for wrongdoing. If and have experienced investment losses, please call us at 888-840-1571 or complete our contact form for a free consultation. Erez Law is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies on a contingency fee basis.

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Author: Jeffrey Erez

The founder of Erez Law, Jeffrey Erez, focuses exclusively on securities arbitration and litigation. Mr. Erez passionately believes in representing aggrieved investors and obtaining justice for his clients through litigation.