The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating recommendations by brokerage firms for their clients to invest in Carey Watermark Investors 2 aka Watermark Lodging Trust – a non-traded real estate investment trust (non-traded REIT). Carey Watermark Investors 2 originally sold shares for $10.00. The fund claims to have an estimated net asset value per share of $11.41. However, secondary market trading sources cite a far smaller value at only $5.50 a share – implying that the trading markets anticipate that Carey Watermark Investors 2 has substantially dropped in value.
As a background, Watermark Lodging Trust claims to be a premier lodging REIT with a portfolio of high-quality lodging assets led by an internal management team with a distinctive record of stockholder value creation. WLT claims to have been formed to take advantage of current and future opportunities in the lodging industry and seeks to provide investors with attractive, risk-adjusted returns and long-term growth in value.
Thereafter, on April 13, 2020, Carey Watermark Investors 2 and Carey Watermark Investors 1 merged in an all-stock transaction to create Watermark Lodging Trust. In addition, since March 2020 the REIT has suspended distributions due to the reduced travel demand and related financial impact resulting from COVID-19.
In May 2020 the company filed a notice with the SEC stating that “approximately $277 million of indebtedness is scheduled to mature after the date of this Form 8-K through December 31, 2020. This indebtedness is nonrecourse mortgage indebtedness and the Company has extension options with respect to a portion of such indebtedness. If the Company’s lenders do not provide covenant relief or if the Company is unable to repay, refinance or extend any such indebtedness, the lenders may declare events of default and seek to foreclose on the underlying hotels. We may also seek to give properties back to the lenders. We have begun active efforts to raise capital through a variety of strategies, including, without limitation, sales of assets, potentially at discounted prices; incurrences of debt; joint venture arrangements; and/or issuances of equity securities in transactions which may be dilutive to our stockholders.”
Our firm often handles cases involving direct participation products (DPPs), private placements, Non-Traded REITs, and other alternative investments. These products are almost always unsuitable for middle class investors. In addition, the brokers who sell them are paid additional commission in order to hype inferior quality investments providing perverse incentives for brokers to sell high risk and low reward investments.
According to studies, non-traded REITs have historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds – meaning that non-traded REITs provide paltry investment returns considering the risk an investor takes. Alternative investment products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and equipment leasing programs are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed at all.
However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. These products have become so popular among brokers without providing any benefit to investors that many states now limit investors from investing more than 10% of their liquid assets in Non-Traded REITs. Many states impose these limitations because its understood that that they provide virtually no benefit to investors in relationship to their risks.
Investors often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment. In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.
The investment lawyers at Gana Weinstein LLP represent investors who have suffered investment losses due to allegations of wrongdoing. The majority of these claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.