Broker Eric Felsenfeld (Felsenfeld), currently employed at Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC (Ameriprise) and formerly registered with Kingswood Capital Partners, LLC (Kingswood) has been subject to at least three customer complaint during the course of his career. The complaints alleges that Felsenfeld made unsuitable trading recommendations, and recommending an overconcentration of non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Business Development Companies (BDCs) among other potential high risk alternative investments.
According to a BrokerCheck report, in February 2021, a customer alleged that Hancock recommended unsuitable investments in BDCs and REITS. The matter settled for $30,000.
In July 2023 another customer complained of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and negligent misrepresentation, negligence, and violation of regulation best interest. The complaint alleged $22,000 in damages and settled for $22,000.
DDPs include products such as non-traded REITs, oil and gas offerings, equipment leasing products, and other alternative investments. These alternative investments virtually never profit investors and are almost always unsuitable for investors because of their high fee and cost structure. Brokers selling these products are paid additional commission in order to hype these inferior quality investments providing a perverse incentives to create an artificial market for the investments.
Several studies have confirmed that Non-traded REITs underperform publicly traded REITs with some showing that Non-Traded REITs cannot even beat safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds. Brokers selling these products must disclose to the investor that non-traded REITs provide lower investment returns than treasuries while being high risk and illiquid – but almost never do. Because investors are not compensated with additional return in exchange for higher risk and illiquidity, these kinds of alternative investment products are rarely, if ever, appropriate for investors.
Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client after conducting due diligence. Due diligence includes an investigation into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, issuer, history, and other relevant factors. Appropriate due diligence would identify that an alternative investment’s high costs, illiquidity, and conflicts of interests that would make the investment not suitable for investors. 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.
Unfortunately, these types of alternative investment products continue to popular among brokers due to their high commissions. In order to counter the perverse incentives to sell these flawed product many states now limit investors from investing more than 10% of their liquid assets in Non-Traded REITs and BDCs. Many states impose these limitations because these investments do not benefit investors.
Felsenfeld entered the securities industry in April 2002, and was registered from then until June 2004 with Mogan Stanley DW Inc. From October 2004 through April 2009, Felsenfeld was registered with TD Ameritrade, Inc.; following that, from September 2009 to October 2017, he was registered with H. Beck, Inc. Felsenfeld was then registered with Niagara International Capital Limited, from December 2017 to June 2018. Currently, Felsenfeld is registered with Kingswood, beginning in June 2018.
At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to suitability violations. Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.