Brokerage firm SII Investments, Inc. has been ordered by Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin to refund money back to clients who were sold non-traded REITs by SII.
Galvin charges that SII failed to adequately supervise the sale of nontraded REITs to customers. As a result of the settlement, any Massachusetts investor who was identified by Mr. Galvin’s office as having been improperly sold the REITs by SII will be offered their money back. While this conduct may have occurred in other states, only Massachusetts investors are affected by the action by Galvin’s office (and other investors will not receive a refund as a result of this action).
Of note, the Massachusetts action focused on SII treating clients’ annuities as liquid assets rather than nonliquid assets for purposes of calculating the amount of the client’s assets that could be invested in non-traded REITs: “SII’s suitability and disclosure form for nontraded REITs stated that no more than 10% of an investor’s liquid net worth may be invested in any particular nontraded REIT… While SII’s own internal policies made clear that annuities are illiquid products, SII nevertheless included annuities with substantial pending surrender fees as liquid for nontraded REIT liquid net-worth calculations.”