Peak Ridge Seeks $30 Million in Morgan Stanley Case

(Corrects name of fund in first paragraph.)

Peak Ridge Master SPC Ltd., a commodity hedge fund, is seeking at least $30 million in damages stemming from Morgan Stanley’s role as the futures broker for the fund.

The claim was filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court in response to a lawsuit by the bank. Morgan Stanley said in a complaint filed earlier this month that it suffered a $40.6 million loss after being forced to take over the fund’s natural gas trades in June.

Morgan Stanley alleged that the Peak Ridge, based in Hamilton, Bermuda, lost $9.8 million on natural gas trades on June 4, forcing the bank to require additional cash to back the trades, known as margin. When Peak Ridge failed to meet its margin call, the New York-based bank took over its accounts on June 11, according to the court filing. Over the next two weeks, Morgan Stanley sold off the positions and “incurred substantial losses,” the bank claimed.

In its counterclaim, Peak Ridge alleged that Morgan Stanley “wrongfully seized” the fund’s account after “arbitrarily and capriciously” imposing new margin requirements. Peak Ridge also said Morgan Stanley didn’t make a margin call, and that the fund wasn’t in default.

The fund also claimed that the bank turned to its proprietary trading team to liquidate its positions, relying on an “inexperienced” trader. Morgan Stanley “grossly mishandled” the trades, losing $32 million, Peak Ridge alleged in court papers.

Michael McNally, chief executive officer of Boston-based Peak Ridge Capital Group LLC, which is associated with the hedge fund, declined to comment.

“Morgan Stanley stands behind its initial lawsuit against Peak Ridge and we intend aggressively to pursue our case,” Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, said in an e-mail.

The case is Morgan Stanley v. Peak Ridge Master SPC Ltd., 10-08405, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Asjylyn Loder in New York at aloder@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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