Investors in Hospitality Investors Trust (“HIT”), also known as American Realty Capital Hospitality Trust or ARC Hospitality, may have FINRA arbitration claims, 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 stockbroker or advisor.
HIT, a public, non-traded real estate investment trust (“REIT”) with a focus on hospitality properties in the United States, announced a 33.6% decrease in its net asset value (“NAV”) to $9.21 per share, following a share repurchase program in October, 2018 in which shares were purchased at $9.00 per share.
As a publicly registered non-traded REIT, HIT was permitted to sell securities to the investing public at large, including numerous unsophisticated retail investors who bought shares upon the recommendation of a broker or money manager. Original investors of HIT could purchase shares at $25.00 per share. However, the REIT’s estimated NAV is currently $9.21, and even worse, shares on the secondary market have reportedly been sold at prices between $3.75 and $3.99 a share.
Even the estimated NAV may not tell the whole story, as NAV may not reflect the actual value that shareholders would realize if HIT were liquidated, listed on an exchange or merged with a public company. Financial analysts frequently assume that non-traded investments such as HIT will trade at a discount to NAV if listed on a securities exchange. In a prominent example of this phenomenon, a large non-traded REIT known as American Finance Trust or AFIN that listed its shares in 2018 had published an estimated NAV of $23.56 a share, yet shares later traded for as little as $10.08 after AFIN was listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. AFIN shares now trade at around $13.00 a share as of January 2020.
Non-traded REITs pose many risks that are often not readily apparent to retail investors, or adequately explained by the financial advisors and stockbrokers who recommend these complex investments. One significant risk associated with non-traded REITs has to do with their high up-front commissions, typically between 7-10%. In addition to high commissions, non-traded REITs like HIT generally charge investors for certain due diligence and administrative fees, ranging anywhere from 1-3%.
Furthermore, non-traded REITs are generally illiquid investments. Unlike traditional stocks and mutual funds, non-traded REITs do not trade on a national securities exchange. Many uninitiated investors in non-traded REITs have come to learn too late that their ability to exit their investment position is limited. Typically, investors in non-traded REITs can only exit their investment through redemption directly with the sponsor on a limited basis, and often at a disadvantageous price, or through sales in a limited secondary market.
Investors who wish to discuss a possible claim may contact a securities arbitration lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation. Attorneys at the firm are admitted in New York, New Jersey, Wisconsin and various federal courts around the country, and handle cases nationwide (in cooperation with attorneys located in those states if required by applicable rules).