All of these products are high commission alternative investment vehicles. While they are appropriate investments for certain investors, often times brokers recommend them to customers who do not understand the complicated investments in order to maximize the broker’s commissions. Variable annuities and variable universal life policies are both life insurance and security hybrids. They both permit an investor to gain (or lose) money through security based investments in the stock market, while at the same time providing some level of life insurance and insurance tax treatment. However, these investments also carry significantly higher fees, liquidity restrictions, and other considerations that can make them wholly inappropriate for many investors.
Similarly, a REIT is an alternative investment in real estate. Often times these investments are sold as safe, income generating investments that don’t “lose money when the stock market goes down.” While it is true that REITs are not directly influenced in price by the stock market, the implication that this makes these investments safe is usually not true, as has been seen by many investors sold these products in the last several years. Instead, these are complex investments with significant risks, including strict liquidity limitations and potentially long holding periods, that are only appropriate for more sophisticated investors.
Ms. Crownover’s investment recommendations have resulted in a number of lawsuits already. Eighteen former customers have settled with Ameriprise for financial compensation or been awarded money at arbitration, and two more disputes have been filed and are still pending. That doesn’t include the roughly 30 customers that have complained about her services as a broker that have not settled their problems and/or filed a formal dispute in arbitration. It appears from this track record that Ms. Crownover was more concerned with maximizing her commissions by selling the same handful of complex, high-commission products to all of her clients than in doing her job properly.
If you have suffered losses from investments you made with Ms. Crownover, contact the offices of Shepherd, Smith, Edwards, & Kantas LLP for a free, no obligation consultation. You may have a right to seek to recover some or all of your losses in court or arbitration.
Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LLP has a team of attorneys, consultants and staff with more than 100 years of combined experience in the securities industry and in securities law. Since 1990, we have represented thousands of investors nationwide to recover losses. We have represented clients in Federal and state courts and in arbitration through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the New York Stock Exchange Inc. (NYSE), the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and in private arbitration actions. Collectively, we have represented over 1,000 investors over the last 18 years in negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation.