SEC Litigation Releases: Week in Review - May 11th, 2012
Georgia Doctor Consents to Order in Settlement of SEC Insider Trading Charges
May 10, 2012, (Litigation Release No. 22364)
In a September 2010 complaint (Litigation Release No. 21644), the SEC alleged that Dr. Bobby V. Khan traded Sciele Pharma, Inc. (a Georgia-based pharmaceutical company) stock based upon material non-public information concerning a tender offer that was to be made by a Japanese company. Yesterday, the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia entered a consent...
The Small Price of Big Favors
Yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a press release announcing that it had filed a complaint alleging Detroit officials -- including former mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick and former city treasurer Jeffrey W. Beasley -- influenced the city's pension fund investments to favor an advisor, MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors LLC, in exchange for personal gifts. This story illustrates an all too common occurrence in municipal finance. According to the SEC, Kilpatrick and Beasley...
The "New" Non-Traded REITs Look a Lot Like the Old Ones
Yesterday's Wall Street Journal had an article describing the "new versions" of non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), which purport to solve some of the transparency issues which have made non-traded REITs the subject of regulatory scrutiny. In particular, several non-traded REITs are now offering daily updated net asset values (NAV) in an attempt to calm concerns regarding the lack of transparency in the pricing of non-traded REITs.
However, a review of the prospectus for...
Latest Non-Traded REIT Valuations: Not Good...
Non-traded REITs are real estate investments sold to retail investors despite significant liquidity, transparency, and other risks. We've done a great deal of work on non-traded REITs (including a paper and blog posts), and have warned that their dividend payments and debt levels are often not sustainable. Almost all non-traded REITs are reported in customer accounts at acquisition cost, despite widespread declines in real estate values.
FINRA has recently required non-traded REITs to report...
Greg Smith Leaves Wall Street
The New York Times published an op-ed by Greg Smith, a Goldman Sachs' Executive Director who is resigning from his job after almost 12 years with the firm because, as he puts it, the firm's culture has veered far from what it was when he first joined the firm. He says in spite of the firm's recent scandals "the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money." At SLCG, we have come across many examples of the issues raised by Mr....
SLCG Research: Non-Traded REITs
We've posted a new working paper on our website that brings together much of our research related to non-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). In it, we discuss the history and structure of non-traded REITs as well as differences between non-traded REITs and other avenues for gaining exposure to real estate. We highlight the dizzying array of fees and conflicts of interest embedded in these companies. We demonstrate that non-traded REITs are often misleadingly valued, heavily...
Déjà Vu: Non-Traded Business Development Companies
Last week we posted an introduction to non-traded REITs that highlighted the many risks inherent to those investments. As it happens, another non-traded investment has been growing in popularity, but has an almost identical set of risk factors and has recently caught the attention of regulators: non-traded business development companies (BDCs).
The resemblance between non-traded REITs and non-traded BDCs is uncanny. Both are special business classes created by Congress in the mid 20th...
An Introduction to Non-Traded REITs
Both FINRA and the SEC have started warning investors about non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are growing in popularity but expose investors to very serious risks. We at SLCG have had a variety of cases involving non-traded REITs and would like to describe our experience analyzing these investments and what they mean for regulators and retail investors.
In the most general sense, REITs are simply companies that hold almost entirely real estate assets. These companies can...
FINRA Regulatory Notice: Complex Products
FINRA recently released Regulatory Notice 12-03: Heightened Supervision of Complex Products, outlining their increased scrutiny of a wide variety of alternative investments including structured products, inverse or leveraged exchange traded funds, and asset-backed securities. Here at SLCG, we've done research on each of those subjects, and have a variety of ongoing projects that bear directly on the issues highlighted by the Notice.
The products identified include:
FINRA Press Release: Non-Traded REITs
FINRA Charges David Lerner & Associates Over Sale of Non-traded Apple REITs
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a press release yesterday in which it announced that it had
"filed a complaint against David Lerner & Associates, Inc. (DLA), of Syosset, NY, charging the firm with soliciting investors to purchase shares in Apple REIT Ten, a non-traded $2 billion Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), without conducting a reasonable investigation to determine whether...