by Structured Settlement Watchdog
If you have no alternative but to sell structured settlement payments you must shop around to get the best deal. Finding buyers should not be that hard given the constant assault of ads with any search of the key word " structured settlement".
What is an Exchange?
An exchange is an organized marketplace (such as a stock exchange) where buyers and sellers negotiate prices. Exchanges require an almost instant (real time) bid and ask matching mechanism, settlement and clearing, and market wide price communication and determination. Read more: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/exchange.html
Structured Settlement Exchange
The term Settlement Exchange or Structured Settlement Exchange, implies a regulated marketplace. The truth is the opposite as I covered in my August 8, 2015 post Settlement Exchange | Not a Regulated Marketplace
Abridged history of "structured settlement exchanges"
- Income Stream Exchange, founded in 2014 by convicted felon and Ponzi schemer Todd Dyer, who is cooling his heels in jail for the next 14 years. Attempted to gain legitimacy by pirating videos from the NSSTA YouTube channel and placing testimonials from the NSSTA website about structured settlements in a misleading context for anticipated financial gain.
- SSQ Structured Settlement Quotes, owned by Genex Capital since November 2011, alleged to be "nothing more than a fraudulent and deceptive scheme designed to mislead consumers and benefit certain companies and persons, and in particular Genex..." in a legal complaint for case that settled in 2015. SSQ/Genex Capital has supported Mt Airy Faker David Springer's aliases, including the shameful publishing and shameful continued publication of a testimonial for an alias Springer's admitted to under oath in legal testimony.
- Selling Your Structured Settlement (SYSS), a website established by an Annapolis Missouri man who served jail time, multiple times, from 2013-2015 and worked for Genex Strategies, Inc, for 3 months in 2012 and published on his LinkedIn that he was a "Senior Financial Adviser" to (Mt Airy Faker) David Springer, despite having no financial licenses or professional credentials.
- Structured Settlement Exchange appears in a Crowd Funder page associated with Matt Lutz and Tarpon Bay Capital. When I spoke to Matt Lutz on June 19, 2018 he stated that it was an experiment and no longer in operation.
- SettlementExchange.org, the website of Settlement Exchange, LLC, run by Clarence Dean, claims that
"Will beat JG Wentworth's and Peachtree's rates by 50%". June 2018
Everyone loves to try to beat the 800 lb gorilla even if, after 2 bankruptcies in 8 years, the ape weighs a little less.
Google Adwords have recently served up ads for selling structured settlement payments, that boldly state that a certain company, using the URL enuities.com, will beat JG Wentworth's and Peachtree's rates by 50%. The ads state that they won't just beat JG Wentworth's rates but will destroy them. If true and can be substantiated, that's pretty impressive considering JG Wentworth's low 4% cost of money plus costs and willingness to do deals at a loss, if necessary to beat out competing quotes. If there is no way out but to sell a structured settlement that sounds great, "where do I sign up?"
The reality is that, according to my sources, JG Wentworth has a prefunded credit line of $50,000,000 at 4% and until that runs out it is difficult, if not impossible to beat them. Business is very tight at the moment in the structured settlement secondary market as a result. For someone to beat that by 50%, they would have to do a 2% discount rate and/or make up for the massive economies of scale volume discount JG Wentworth gets on legal expenses.
The disclaimer says "Estimate of beating other offers by 50% are based upon historical data and market research of current factoring industry leaders".
The connection to an active structured settlement annuity general agency and settlement planning firm
Clicking on the ads bring you to a website that purports to be a "structured settlement exchange". It is remarkable that all of the images feature people of color. Calling the phone number on that website on June 15, 2018, brought a return call from Milestone Consulting, a general agency in the primary market, that is appointed with many structured settlement annuity carriers and is well connected with the trial lawyer community. The agency has also advertised in the past and apparently continues to advertise about using structured settlement derivatives with current plaintiffs or their attorneys. Nita Bhatia, the company representative I spoke with said that the platform will actually be launching in the Fall of 2018. It is just gathering names and information about structured settlement annuitants. It has retained a lawyer, Earl Nesbitt, who is well connected counsel to the National Association of Settlement Purchasers.
In June 2017, Seventh Amendment Holdings, LLC submitted an application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in an attempt to trademark "Structured Settlement Exchange". The application was rejected by the USPTO for descriptiveness (i.e. cannot trademark descriptive) . Seventh Amendment Holdings, LLC, the holding company for Milestone Consulting, appealed.
On April 3, 2018 the USPTO said:
DESCRIPTIVENESS REFUSAL IS MAINTAINED AND MADE FINAL
Registration was and remains refused because the applied-for mark merely describes key features of functions of applicant’s goods and/or services. Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1), 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(1); see TMEP §§1209.01(b), 1209.03 et seq.
The applicant seeks registration of STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT EXCHANGE for: Providing an online marketplace for plaintiffs who have received a settlement in a legal action to sell their settlements or annuity payments, in whole or in part, directly to individuals, institutions, and investors. The proposed mark merely describes the services because it immediately tells consumers that they feature an exchange in the form of an online marketplace in the field of structured legal settlements.
The examining attorney provided ample evidence that the component terms of this mark, and the terms used together, are merely descriptive in this context. This evidence includes dictionary definitions as well as on point industry evidence that others use this wording descriptively in this context. See evidence discussed in and attached to September 27, 2017 Office action. The applicant failed to refute or even address the evidence. Moreover, the applicant provided no evidence in support of its position.
Notwithstanding the Trademark application, various entities have registered domains that include the term "structured settlement exchange" or "settlement exchange"
The idea of an exchange is not a bad one. However, despite what I'm sure were good intentions, common ownership and operation with an individual or entity that owns a structured settlement general agency, an entity that provides pre-settlement loans and also engages in the marketing of structured settlement derivatives to investors in concurrent fashion, raises an eyebrow, in my opinion.
What Should a Structured Settlement Exchange Look Like?
- Independently operated and managed, not tied to any structured settlement general agency, by common ownership, affiliation or otherwise.
- The exchange and its participants should be regulated.
- The marketplace must be transparent