Here’s Why This Top Regulator is Suspicious of REIT Marketing


William Galvin is the top financial regulator in Massachusetts. Having assumed the position of secretary of the commonwealth in 1995, Galvin may be more accurately described as an attack dog than a watch dog: He has helped return millions of dollars to investors by litigating against major financial institutions with abusive or misleading practices.

Most recently, he settled with five broker dealers for $11 million over improper sales of real estate investment trusts. Some REITs — typically those that are not publicly traded — are illiquid and can be incredibly difficult for someone to sell if they want out of the investment. REITs are a fairly complicated financial product, and only savvy and well-informed investors should get involved with them.

During his investigation into the broker-dealers, he found that they sold non-traded REITs to Massachusetts residents in excess of a 10 percent maximum concentration limit imposed by regulations.