After being charged by the SEC with Regulation Best Interest violations relating to GWG, Western International Securities has now been censured and fined by FINRA for a different alternative investment product – non traded REITs.
REITs – Real Estate Investment Trusts – are investment companies that invest in a portfolio of various real estate properties. A non traded REIT is not traded on any exchange, and often is illiquid with no short term method of selling the investment.
FINRA charged Western with failing to implement and follow a reasonable supervisory system to ensure that REIT sales were suitable for the customers to whom they were recommended. Although Western had a REIT suitability form, they system did not require supervisors approving sales to review important suitability information from new account forms such as age, objectives, risk tolerance, income, etc.