Massachusetts securities regulators sued LPL Financial, LLC, in December over sales practices of brokers regarding the REITs. Secretary of the Commonwealth, William Galvin, charged LPL Financial with a failure to supervise registered reps who sold the nontraded REITs in violation of both state limitations and the company’s rules. The Securities Division also charged LPL Financial with dishonest and unethical business practices writes Bruce Kelly in an article in InvestmentNews.com.
These charges stem from the sales of $28 million of nontraded REITs to almost 600 clients from 2006 to 2009. The Securities Division found that 569 had regulatory violations. These included sales made in violation of Massachusetts 10% concentration limits; sales made in violation of prospectus requirement; and sales made in violation of LPL compliance practices. LPL received gross commission of $1.8 million for those sales, according to the complaint.
The InvestmentNews.com article goes on to say that the largest amount of sales was for Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc., the largest nontraded REIT in the industry, with $11.2 billion in real estate assets. Massachusetts investors put at least $20.1 million in Inland American, which is currently the focus of a fact-finding investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Massachusetts is seeking full restitution to clients in the state who were sold REITs allegedly in violation of state and prospectus requirements. It is also seeking an unspecified administrative fine against the firm.
LPL Financial is the largest independent broker-dealer, with more than 13,000 registered reps and advisers. Along with Ameriprise Financial Inc., it is one of the largest sellers of nontraded REITs, which are sold only through independent broker-dealers. The investments are marketed as a way to diversify an investor’s portfolio and generate income.
Nontraded REITs, which had over $10 billion in sales in 2012, have drawn attention from regulators and the market recently. Many notable REITs took hits in 2008 and 2009 during the broad downturn of the commercial real estate market. Some of the industry’s largest REITs have suffered a drop in valuations of 25% to 50%, and some REITs have also cut dividends to investors.
Securities Attorney, Lars Soreide, of Soreide Law Group, PLLC, has represented clients nationwide. If you or a family member have experienced losses through LPL Financial, LLC, call a Securities Arbitration Lawyer for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552, or visit https://www.securitieslawyer.com.
Soreide Law Group, PLLC., representing investors nationwide before FINRA the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.