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Apr 6, 2018 by |

San Francisco and California Securities Fraud and Financial Elder Abuse Attorneys: Fiduciary Rule and Fixed Income Annuities

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

Fixed Indexed Annuities and the Fiduciary Rule

Putting You First

In a victory for consumers, the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently upheld the Department of Labor’s (DOL) fiduciary rule as it applies to insurance agents and advisors recommending fixed indexed annuities to customers. The DOL’s fiduciary rule, enacted last year, requires insurance agents and advisors to put their clients’ interests first in recommending certain retirement investments. The rule has a number of exemptions and is currently the subject of litigation throughout the country. 

In the same week as the Tenth Circuit decision, the Fifth Circuit overturned the rule as applied to insurance agents and advisors when recommending IRA investments. The Court found that the DOL exceeded its statutory authority in extending the rule to IRAs. While the Tenth Circuit opinion[1] signals that at least in certain federal circuits the DOL’s rule will be enforced for certain retirement investment recommendations, it now seems inevitable that the fate of the DOL fiduciary rule will be decided by the Supreme Court.

The DOL fiduciary rule requires financial advisors to put your interests first. The San Francisco and California securities fraud and financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. applaud the extension of the fiduciary rule to more and more transactions, especially those involving seniors. We represent clients who have suffered losses as the result of investment advisors and brokers who fail to live up to the duty of care owed clients, particularly seniors.  If you or a loved one has been a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty, securities fraud or financial elder abuse, or find yourself headed toward a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitration with your advisor or broker, contact the Evans Law Firm securities and financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669 and we can help. 

What This Means

Fixed indexed annuities are extremely complex insurance products. The DOL extended the fiduciary rule to these products because of that complexity and also because of the potential conflicts of interest associated with them.  The conflicts arise because the products offer the consumer a choice among various investment funds within the annuity and often many of the offered funds are proprietary funds of the policy issuer itself.  The carrier’s producer thus has a conflict between the in-house funds being offered versus those of third part fund managers.  Those outside funds may in fact be in the best interests of the policyholder versus the internal funds which yield greater profits for the issuing carrier and producer.   

California consumer protection laws and the federal and State courts here have fortunately been ahead of federal agencies and other circuit courts on this front for years. California State law especially protects seniors through advisor/agent disclosure requirements and additional prohibitions meant to anticipate and prohibit advisors from taking unfair advantage of the elderly.  The San Francisco and California securities fraud and financial elder abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm, Inc. believe agents and advisors should be held to the highest legal and ethical standards in their dealings with seniors and pursue all possible remedies for our clients.  If you or a loved one is a senior in California who has suffered a loss because of financial advisor or agent/broker misconduct, contact us today.  Be assured we will work to hold your advisor to the highest standard of conduct towards you that the laws provide.

Some of the major annuity and life insurance providers in California are listed below. We do not suggest in any way that any of these carriers is guilty of any wrongdoing, including breach of fiduciary duty.  Rather, the list is provided solely for our readers’ reference.

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America

American National Life Insurance Company

Ameriprise Financial/RiverSource Life Insurance Company

Athene Annuity and Life Company

AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company

Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty Company

EquiTrust Life Insurance Company

Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company

Forethought Life Insurance Company/Global Atlantic Financial Group

Genworth Life Insurance Company

Global Atlantic Financial Group/Forethought Life Insurance Company

Guardian Life Insurance Company

Guggenheim Partners/Security Benefit Life Insurance Company

ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company

Jackson National Life Insurance Company

John Hancock Life Insurance Company

Lincoln Benefit Life Company

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company

Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

New York Life Insurance Company

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company

Pacific Life Insurance Company

Prudential Life Insurance Company

RiverSource Life Insurance Company/Ameriprise Financial

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company/Guggenheim Partners

Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Unum Life Insurance Company of America

Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company

 

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a breach of fiduciary duty, annuity or securities fraud or financial elder abuse in San Francisco or anywhere in California or are headed to FINRA Arbitration against your advisor, contact California securities fraud and financial elder abuse attorney Ingrid Evans and the other Evans Law Firm securities and financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at <a href=”mailto:info@evanslaw.com”>info@evanslaw.com</a>. Our attorneys have experience with complex securities cases, arbitrations, and mediations; and complicated financial contracts and large insurance companies.  We can help guide your case through a jury trial or FINRA Arbitration if required, and toward an equitable settlement.  We also handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, other types of qui tam and whistleblower cases, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.

[1]The Tenth Circuit decision was in Market Synergy Group, Inc. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 17-3038 (10th Cir., March 13, 2018).  The Fifth Circuit decision was in Chamber of Commerce et al. v. United States Department of Labor, et al., No. 17-10238 (5th Cir., March 15, 2018). Evans Law Firm, Inc. was not involved in either case in any way.

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