Broker James Lynn (Lynn) was recently terminated by his former employer Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. (Voya). According BrokerCheck Voya alleged that Lynn provided misleading information to the firm during a complaint investigation. In addition to the termination, Lynn has been subject to six customer complaints, one bankruptcy and three judgments or tax liens. The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the customer complaints against Lynn.
Many of the complaints concern variable annuities or direct participation products (DPPs) such as non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs). The most recent complaint filed in May 2017 requested $115,000 in damages alleging that the investor claimed the that the REIT investments and the replacement of a variable annuity policy was unsuitable. The REITs were purchased in 2014 and 2015. The claim is currently pending.
All of these investments come with high costs and historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds. For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments 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. However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them. Further, investor 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.