Wall Street Journal
America’s top oil field was desperate for pipelines. Now it has too many
1 minute read
October 1, 2020
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Risks of Investing in MLP Securities. An investment in MLPs involves risks that differ from a similar investment in equity securities, such as common stock, of a corporation. Holders of equity securities issued by MLPs have the rights typically afforded to limited partners in a limited partnership. As compared to common shareholders of a corporation, holders of such equity securities have more limited control and limited rights to vote on matters affecting the partnership. There are certain tax risks associated with an investment in equity MLP units. Additionally, conflicts of interest may exist among common unit holders, subordinated unit holders and the general partner or managing member of an MLP; for example, a conflict may arise as a result of incentive distribution payments. MLPs are subject to significant regulation and may be adversely affected by changes in the regulatory environment, including the risk that an MLP could lose its tax status as a partnership. MLPs may trade less frequently than larger companies due to their smaller capitalizations, which may result in erratic price movement or difficulty in buying or selling. MLPs may have additional expenses, as some MLPs pay incentive distribution fees to their general partners. The value of MLPs depends largely on the MLPs being treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If MLPs were subject to U.S. federal income taxation, distributions generally would be taxed as dividend income. As a result, after-tax returns could be reduced, which could cause a decline in the value of MLPs. If MLPs are unable to maintain partnership status because of tax law changes, the MLPs would be taxed as corporations and there could be a decrease in the value of the MLP securities.
Energy Sector Risks. A portfolio concentrated in the energy sector will be subject to more risks related to the energy sector than a portfolio that is more broadly diversified over numerous sectors of the economy. A downturn in the energy sector of the economy could have a larger impact on a portfolio concentrated in the energy sector than on an investment company that does not concentrate in the sector. In addition, there are several specific risks associated with investments in the energy sector, including the following: Commodity Price Risk, Depletion Risk, Supply and Demand Risk, Regulatory Risk, Acquisition Risk, Weather Risks, Exploration Risk, Catastrophic Event Risk, Interest Rate Transaction Risk, Affiliated Party Risk and Limited Partner Risk and Risks of Subordinated MLP Units. MLPs which invest in the energy industry are highly volatile due to significant fluctuation in the prices of energy commodities as well as political and regulatory developments.
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