BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Secretary William Galvin has launched an investigation into the sale of higher risk investments to seniors.

Galvin said his office is looking into the sale of so-called "alternative investments" to seniors.

Galvin said those investments can include such non-traditional securities as real estate investment trusts, oil and gas partnerships, structured products, tenancy-in-common and 506 private placements.

Galvin said the securities can be attractive to seniors because they provide a return considerably higher than traditional investment options.

He warned however that the potential of higher returns comes with higher risks.

Galvin said the complexity of the financial products also makes them difficult for the average investor to understand.

He described them as "accidents waiting to happen" when sold to inexperienced investors by untrained agents who push the products to score large commissions.