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Ameriprise ordered to repay couple $1.17M for bad investments

An elderly California couple is slated to receive $1.17 million from Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. The money has been ordered paid by an arbitration panel of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority -- Wall Street's self-funded regulatory body.

The finding of the panel, announced May 1 in San Francisco, is that Ameriprise inappropriately advised the retirees to put more than $1 million into three tenant-in-common arrangements involving commercial real estate ventures around the country.

The investments were considered high risk. One of them failed utterly. The other two lost substantial value and the investment loss cost the couple nearly all of their life savings, according to their attorney. 

The husband is 82. It's not known how old the wife is. Both are retired school teachers.

A statement by the couple's attorney says that the FINRA arbitration determined that Ameriprise was repeatedly guilty of not following its own supervisory procedures regarding investment counseling. He says what was even more unfortunate is that the company refused to acknowledge its mistake and make his clients whole.

For its part, Ameriprise remains steadfast in its position that company advisers never misguided the elderly retirees. A spokesman for the firm says the training it provides to its advisers in connection with tenant-in-common products is solid and he says the same applies to processes used to ensure due diligence.

Be that as it may, the finding of the arbitration panel still stands which is bound to be welcome news for the victims of the wrongdoing. Anyone who finds themselves in circumstances similar to those of this couple would be wise to follow their example and seek the help of experienced legal counsel.

Source: Investment News, "Finra panel orders Ameriprise to pay couple $1.17 million," Mark Schoeff Jr., May 5, 2014 

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