Non-listed or non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) are a $10 billion-a-year industry. These investments are a cash cow for brokers and firms because of the excessive fees they generate for the firms. Unfortunately, they can be a financial disaster for investors who have been misled about the risks involved, including the suspension of dividends and illiquidity. In May, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) filed a complaint against broker-dealer David Lerner & Associates Inc. for allegedly marketing REITs with misleading returns. Since then, FINRA has issued an investor alert bulletin about the dangers of the products.
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