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My Perspective on the Patrick Morris Case and Unsuitable REIT Recommendations

I’ve come across a broker by the name of Patrick Morris from Equitable Advisors who’s caught up in a bit of a storm. His professional history, made handy on February 28, 2024, through BrokerCheck, shows that he’s suggested a real estate investment trust (REIT) that hasn’t quite fit the bill for an investor.

Understanding REITs

For those unfamiliar, REITs allow you to pocket earnings from a bunch of properties without getting tangled in the day-to-day of being a landlord. A heads-up though – these investments are often hard to cash out quickly. This sticky situation makes them a poor match for a lot of people, particularly non-traded REITs that aren’t listed on the stock exchange, making them tough to unload.

‘Suitability’ Under FINRA Rule 2111

On the subject of investment fit, I should unpack FINRA Rule 2111 for you. This rule insists on recommendations being in line with the investor’s needs, weighing things like age, how much risk you’re comfortable with, taxes, how savvy you are with investing, and what you’re aiming to get out of your investments. If a broker doesn’t account for this, it might be a round peg in a square hole situation.

And it’s not Patrick Morris’s first time facing unhappy investors. His record shows four other disputes.

Take for example a case from March 15, 2016, where a spouse complained that her husband, due to health issues, wasn’t in shape to understand the variable annuity purchase he made. Even though this was brushed aside, it’s worth noting companies don’t always need another set of eyes to say no. That said, if you’ve been left out of pocket, you can still turn to FINRA arbitration to make a claim.

Decoding Variable Annuities

Since we’ve hit on variable annuities, let’s clear that up. They’re like a two-in-one deal of insurance and investments. But they can be a thorn in your side with steep fees, penalties for early withdrawal, and tax headaches. Because they’re not easy to sell quickly, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea.

So, going back to Patrick Morris. He’s aced a handful of exams, like:

  • Series 65: the advisor law test
  • Series 63: the state securities test
  • SIE: the essentials test
  • Series 7: the general securities test
  • Series 6: the investment products test
  • Series 26: the investment management test

He’s in business in 14 states and has a 42-year track record, linked with Equitable Advisors, The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, and H.C. Copeland and Associates Equities.

If you’re having second thoughts about your investments handled by Patrick Morris, it’s a wise move to seek professional guidance. There are law firms that won’t charge you unless they win back what you’re owed. Securities fraud left unchecked can take a toll on your finances. The wise old Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Indeed, the quicker you address financial mishaps, the better

Watching your back when dealing with financial advisors is key. Here’s a sobering fact – the damage caused by bad financial advisors can whittle down retirement savings by 25%. Before making any investment choices, confirm the advisor’s credibility through their FINRA CRM number.

Always vet your financial advisor thoroughly, and it’s your right to ask questions and expect clear answers. If something feels off, trust your gut – and get a second opinion. Each move you make now can dramatically shape your financial future, so don’t hesitate to act.

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