Potential Client Losses in the Millions
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FSC Securities brokers Frank Briseno III (CRD#: 1177246) and Craig Accardo (CRD#: 3000762) have been named in a FINRA arbitration claim alleging unsuitable investment recommendations of non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs).
Briseno and Accardo currently operate their own independent financial planning firm but hold their securities registration with FSC Securities in Metairie, Louisiana.
FSC Securities Corp., part of the Advisor Group network, is facing a potential multi-million dollar arbitration claim by 13 investors alleging that Briseno and Accardo made unsuitable recommendations by loading up their portfolios with high-commission, illiquid alternative investments.
Non-traded REITs do not trade on a public securities exchange. For this reason, non-traded REITs can be “illiquid,” meaning investors may be unable to sell their investments on demand.
Investors filing the complaint against FSC claimed that Briseno and Accardo worked with retirees who opted to receive lump-sum retirement payouts as opposed to enrolling in the company pension plan.
Many of the investors making the claim, which was filed with FINRA July 23, 2019, were employees of AT&T who received lump-sum payouts in the range of $300,000 to $600,000.
According to the FINRA complaint, “Due to the notable percentage of [clients’] portfolios that was put into high-commission products, [investors] believe these recommendations were clear ‘commission grabs’ by FSC brokers. The recommendations do not make sense unless viewed with their commissions in mind.”
Following the credit crisis, non-traded REITs were sold by many brokers as an alternative investment with relatively steady returns compared to investing in stocks.The investments commonly paid steep commissions to brokers of seven percent.
Variable annuities have also been a high-commission product at many broker-dealers, typically paying commissions of five percent to six percent.
in one reported instance, an FSC client who spent 33 years at AT&T, Brian Abadie, chose a lump sum payout rather than enrolling in the company’s pension plan, FINRA records state.
Per the complaint, based on his broker, Briseno’s advice, Abadie’s investments were “highly concentrated in alternative investments,” including non-traded REITs managed by Cole, Behringer, Harvard, American Finance Trust, and Phillips Edison.
Investor funds are usually tied up in non-traded REITs for several years. Abadie states in his complaint that he was not properly advised of the illiquidity of the investments.
The investors also alleged that FSC made violations of industry standards of conduct and negligence.
Attorneys for the claimants said the claims could total millions of dollars, and that there are potentially dozens or hundreds more of such FSC investors.
Most investment strategists would agree that non-traded REITs are only suitable for investors with a long-term investment horizon who are willing to accept higher levels of risk in their investments.
Both Briseno and Accardo have been with FSC for 15 years. According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, Briseno has 35 years of experience with six firms, with one disclosure in his record. Accardo has 21 years of experience with two firms and zero recorded disclosures on his FINRA record.
In 2017, an FSC client alleged that Briseno misrepresented non-traded REITs and was upset at the valuation of the REITs. The customer also expressed dissatisfaction at the performance of his brokerage account. The client requested $5,000 in damages. The claim was denied.
Jeffrey R. Sonn is an experienced investor losses attorney. If you suffered losses because a financial professional or corporate executive misappropriated funds, Mr. Sonn will protect your rights and interests. Please do not hesitate to contactthe Sonn Law Group today for a free review of your claim.