Our recent blog post, “Berthel Fisher and Affiliate Fined Regarding Sales of ETFs and Non-Traded REITs,” reported that in February the firm had been fined $775,000 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The FINRA fines addressed alleged supervisory failures, including failure to properly supervise the sale of alternative investments like leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). One claim has already been filed by investment fraud lawyers on behalf of a retired woman in Minnesota.
According to the claim, the woman was sold non-traded REITs and other alternative investments by Jonathan Pyne, a broker for Berthel Fisher. The claim argues that her age and low risk tolerance made the investments unsuitable for her. The investments included:
- Inland American Real Estate Trust
- Wells REIT
- Cornerstone Core Properties REIT
- Gulf Coast Rig & Equipment
- REEF Oil & Gas Income and Development
- Leaf Equipment Leasing Income Fund III
Securities arbitration lawyers say that these investments are illiquid and, in many cases, may have been negligently misrepresented. In this woman’s case and possibly many others, the investments also allegedly represented a concentration level of her liquid net worth that was too large to be suitable.
Firms have an obligation to properly supervise their brokers and fully disclose all the risks of a given investment when making recommendations, and those recommendations must be suitable for the individual investor receiving the recommendation given their age, investment objectives and risk tolerance.
Non-traded REITs are attractive to investors because they carry a relatively high dividend or interest. According to investment fraud lawyers, however, these investments are inherently risky and illiquid, which limits access of funds to investors and makes them unsuitable for many individuals with conservative risk tolerances and those who need easy access to funds, especially when over-concentrated. Leveraged and inverse ETFs are designed to meet daily objectives, and “reset” each day. As a result, the performance of these investments can diverge from the performance of the underlying benchmark or index very quickly, and the problem is exasperated in volatile markets, making these investments unsuitable for many investors as well.
If you were sold unsuitable alternative investments from a Berthel Fisher broker, including non-traded REITs, inverse and leveraged ETFs and/or Oil & Gas Partnerships, you may be able to recover your losses through a securities arbitration claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a securities arbitration lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation.