An exchange traded fund (ETF) is an investment fund that trades on an exchange like a stock. An ETF holds assets such as stocks, bonds or commodities and trades at a price near the net asset value of the underlying assets.
While conceptually they appear a good idea, ETFs can be a problem for investors seeking low risk and conservative path if they are leveraged, burdened with high fees or thinly traded.
Don't confuse exchange traded notes (ETNS) with ETFs. ETNs have substantially more risk since they rely on the solvency of the issuing company.
In a recent arbitration (FINRA Case #11-556) before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wells Fargo was ordered to pay a couple $1.3 Million dollars in connection with investments in exchange traded funds (ETFs).
The claimants brought charges of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud by omission and misrepresentation, failure to supervise and other claims against Wells Fargo. The panel found that the investments were not suitable and that the nature of the risk had been misrepresented by the Wells Fargo broker.
If you lost money on ETFs we may be able to help you recover all or a portion of that loss through FINRA arbitration.
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.