This is not controversial. The trust explains this on its website:
At the end of the Trust on April 6, 2015, the certificates of beneficial interest (shares) in the Trust will cease to trade on the New York Stock Exchange and thereafter will represent only the right to receive certain distributions payable to the certificate holders of record at the time of the termination of the Trust. Upon termination, the Trust is obligated to distribute ratably to these certificate holders the net monies remaining in the hands of the Trustees (after paying and providing for all expenses and obligations of the Trust), plus the balance in the Principal Charges account (this account is explained in the Trust’s Annual Report within the Notes to Financial Statements). All other Trust property (most notably the Trust’s mineral properties and the active leases) must be conveyed and transferred to the reversioner (currently Glacier Park Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of ConocoPhillips Company) under the terms of the Trust Agreement.
The exact final distribution, though not determinable at this time, will generally consist of the sum of the Trust’s net monies (essentially, total assets less liabilities and properties) and the balance in the Principal Charges account, less any and all expenses and obligations of the Trust upon termination. To offer a hypothetical example, without factoring in any expenses and obligations of the Trust upon its termination, and using the financial statement values as of December 31, 2011, the net monies were approximately $7,927,000 and the Principal Charges account balance was approximately $4,962,000, resulting in a final distribution payable of approximately $12,889,000, or about $8.59 per share. After payment of this final distribution, the certificates of beneficial interest (shares) would be cancelled and have no further value. It is important to note, however, that the actual net monies on hand and the Principal Charges account balance will most likely fluctuate during the ensuing years and will not be “final” until after the termination and wind-down of the Trust. The Trust offers this example to further inform investors about the conceptual nature of the final distribution and does not imply or guarantee a specific known final distribution amount.
The only thing that unit holders in the trust are entitled to is dividends between now and April 2015 - plus a final termination payment.
The "stock" trades are an amount higher than any amount of dividends likely to be received. It is thus an obvious short and many people have written about it (notably including Citron). Here is a typical example.
This is all well known. Buy this "stock" and you are nearly guaranteed to lose money.
Because that is so well known the stock has a 20 percent borrow cost - roughly offsetting the profit you will get from shorting it. In that sense there is a rational market.
But that is the only sense there is a rational market. People own this. They will lose money. Ponder as a might I can't think of who the suckers might be.
Except one group. Computer driven trading firms. They see the high profits (iron ore prices are not low yet) and the 18 percent dividend yield and the algorithms tell them to own this. Maybe them and some really dumb dividend chasing retail investors.
This should distress me - but it doesn't. I like ill informed people making stupid investments in the market and their persistence pleases me. They have a name: counterparties. May there be many more of them!