Articles Tagged with GWG Renewable Secured Debentures

shutterstock_178801082The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in an acceptance, waiver, and consent action (AWC) sanctioned Arque Capital, Ltd. (Arque) concerning allegations that since 2011 Arque has acted as the managing broker-dealer for an alternative investment – GWG Renewable Secured Debentures (the Debentures) offered by GWG Holdings, Inc, In that capacity FINRA alleged that Arque was responsible for conducting due diligence into GWG and the Debentures, and reviewing all advertising pieces related to the Debentures. FINRA found that between March 2012, and November 2012, Arque distributed a GWG Debenture sales brochure that contained misleading statements.

Arque has been a registered broker-dealer since 2002, has its home office in Scottsdale, Arizona, and 23 branch offices located in various states. The firm has approximately 60 registered representatives. In recent months FINRA has brought numerous disciplinary actions against various firms, supervisors, and brokers concerning the improper sale of GWG Debentures including:

shutterstock_53865739The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in an acceptance, waiver, and consent action (AWC) and barring former Center Street Securities, Inc. (Center Street) broker Jason Lamb (Lamb) concerning allegations that between March 2012, to February 2013, Lamb was a registered principal and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) at Center Street’s headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. FINRA found that Lamb failed to adequately supervise certain sales of GWG Renewable Secured Debentures, an illiquid and high-risk alternative investment.

Center Street Securities is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, has been a FINRA member since 1991, has approximately 67 branch offices and approximately 84 registered representatives. This is not the first time that FINRA has brought regulatory action concerning the actions of Center Street representatives. See Center Street Securities Broker David Escarcega Investigated Over GWG Debenture Sales; FINRA Sanctions Michael Wurdinger and Anil Vazirani Over GWG Debenture Sales (FINRA sanctioned brokers associated with Center Street Securities, Inc.); FINRA Sanctions Center Street Securities Over Sales of GWG Renewable Secured Debentures Part I (Center Street fined by FINRA).

The notes at issue are part of offerings by GWG Holdings, Inc. (GWG) which purchases life insurance policies on the secondary market at a discount to their face value. GWG pays the policy premiums until the insured dies and GWG then collects the insurance benefit making a profit by collecting more on the payout at maturity than the payment of the premiums on the policy. The Debentures have varying maturity terms and interest rates ranging from six-month at an annual interest rate 4.75% to seven years at 9.50%. The prospectus for GWG stated that the investments were speculative and involve a high degree of risk, including the possibility of risk of loss of the entire investment. An investment in the GWG Debentures, as a private placement, is illiquid and investors will not have access to their principal prior to maturity.

shutterstock_27597505This post continues our story on the allegations made by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Center Street Securities, Inc. (Center Street). As previously reported, FINRA sanctioned the firm concerning a multitude of rule violations in the sales of GWG Renewable Secured Debentures, an illiquid and high-risk private placement investment.

FINRA found that in order to purchase the GWG Debentures, Center Street customers were required to complete an account application, GWG subscription forms, and a “Compliance Alternative Investment (Non-Reg D) Suitability.” FINRA found that the compliance form required brokers to obtain information about customers’ existing assets, the concentration of the alternative investment as percentage of net worth, the customer’s age, and the customer’s investment objectives. Once completed, FINRA alleged that these documents were submitted to Center Street’s compliance department for supervisory and suitability review.

FINRA found that these forms were the only items the firm relied upon in reviewing and assessing Debenture sales. FINRA determined that Center Street had three employees of in their compliance department who conducted supervisory and suitability review of all transactions recommended to customers. FINRA alleged that the primary employee responsible for conducting the review of GWG Debenture received no training from the firm regarding the unique characteristics and risks of the GWG Debentures. The employee was also unaware of the firm’s guidelines concerning concentration of alternative products as well as state specific suitability requirements.

shutterstock_27786601The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned brokerage firm Center Street Securities, Inc. (Center Street) concerning allegations that: 1) between approximately March 2012, and August 2013 Center Street, through multiple brokers, made unsuitable recommendations to customers to purchase GWG Renewable Secured Debentures, an illiquid and high-risk private placement investment; 2) Center Street failed to maintain an adequate supervisory system and adequate written supervisory guidelines to reasonably supervise the sales of GWG debentures; 3) between approximately February 2012, and November 2012, Center Street also distributed an inaccurate GWG sales brochure to over 100 customers; and 4) certain Center Street customer account forms contained inaccurate information about customer net worth or other information, and thus the firm failed to maintain accurate books and records.

Center Street Securities is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, has been a FINRA member since 1991, has approximately 67 branch offices and approximately 84 registered representatives. This is not the first time that FINRA has brought regulatory action concerning the actions of Center Street representatives. See Center Street Securities Broker David Escarcega Investigated Over GWG Debenture Sales; FINRA Sanctions Michael Wurdinger and Anil Vazirani Over GWG Debenture Sales (FINRA sanctioned brokers associated with Center Street Securities, Inc.).

The notes are issued by GWG Holdings, Inc. (GWG) which purchases life insurance policies on the secondary market at a discount to the face value of the insurance policies. GWG pays the policy premiums until the insured dies and GWG then collects the insurance benefit making a profit, hopefully, by collecting more upon the maturity of the policies than the payment of the policy and servicing of the premiums. The Debentures have varying maturity terms and interest rates ranging from six-month at an annual interest rate 4.75% to seven years at 9.50%. The prospectus for GWG stated that the investments were speculative and involve a high degree of risk, including the possibility of risk of loss of the entire investment. An investment in the GWG Debentures, as a private placement, is illiquid and investors will not have access to their principal prior to maturity.

shutterstock_155045255The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims concerning allegations made by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that Michael Wurdinger (Wurdinger), from approximately February 2012, to February 2013, Wurdinger failed to adequately supervise sales of GWG Renewable Secured Debentures (GWG), an illiquid and high-risk alternative investment in violation of NASD Rule 3010 and FINRA Rule 2010. As a result of FINRA’s investigation Wurdinger was suspended for six months.

Wurdinger was associated as a securities principal with Center Street Securities, Inc. (Center Street) from June 2009, until April 2013, when he resigned. Since November 4, 2013, Wurdinger has been associated as with Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Center Street has 84 registered representatives and 67 branches offices nationwide.

As a background, GWG Holdings, Inc. purchases life insurance policies on the secondary market at a discount to the face value of the policies. Once purchased, GWG pays the policy premiums until the insured dies. GWG then collects the face value of the insurance benefit and the company hopes to earn returns by collecting more upon the maturity of the policies than it has paid to purchase the policy and service the premiums. FINRA found that the company has a limited operating history and has yet to be profitable.