Investors in Benefit Street Partners Realty Trust, Inc. (“Benefit Street” or the “Company”) may have arbitration claims to be pursued before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), if their investment was recommended by a financial advisor who lacked a reasonable basis for the recommendation, or if the nature of the investment was misrepresented by the financial advisor. Benefit Street was formerly known as Realty Finance Trust; however, in September 2016, Realty Finance appointed Benefit Street Partners (“BSP”) as its new advisor, replacing former sponsor AR Global Investments.
Benefit Street is a publicly registered, non-traded real estate investment trust (“REIT”) that originates, acquires and manages a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate debt secured by properties located in the United States. Benefit Street is managed by BSP, a credit-focused alternative asset manager with over $20 billion of assets under management. Benefit Street commenced its operations in November 2012, and raised $786 millions in investor equity prior to closing its offering in January 2016. As of September 2016, the Company’s portfolio consisted of 73 loans and 7 CMBS investments.
In the years following the 2008 financial crisis, many retail investors were steered into investing in non-traded REITs such as Benefit Street by their broker or money manager based on the investment’s income-producing potential, in addition to the investment’s purported negative correlation to market volatility. Unfortunately, however, many investors were not informed of the complexities and risks associated with non-traded REITs, including the investment’s high fees (as high as 15% of the initial capital investment in some instances) and illiquid nature.