FINRA Ban’s a Broker for Improper Variable Annuity Sales
FINRA, the financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is meant to help keep investors safe in the market for financial products. While many of their high-profile actions involve fines and corrections against major companies, they are also empowered to take actions against individual brokers, who are often the most direct connection that an investor has to the financial industry. When it comes to buying a financial product, a consumer needs to be wary both of the product itself and the person who sells it, as both can result in significant costs down the road.
In this case, the broker was found of have systematically misrepresented products in order to sell them, convinced seniors to sell their existing products in order to fund his sales (generating significant commissions for him and significant surrender penalties for his clients), and to falsify returns in order to make his clients think that he had sold them profitable policies. Our San Mateo elder abuse attorneys call this behavior “churning,” convincing policyholders to surrender and purchase new policies repeatedly in order to earn the broker their commissions. This kind of behavior is a worst case scenario, but it’s not uncommon for brokers to use similar tactics on a smaller scale.
Variable annuities in particular are a product that is often linked to broker misconduct, for a number of reasons. For one, since they often are the most profitable product for the insurance company, brokers earn the highest commissions. For another, they have a reputation for being among the most complicated products on the market, and as a result are as hard for the broker to understand as the policyholder. In situations like that, it’s almost inevitable that consumers will end up with incorrect information about what they can expect from their policy.
Seniors and retirees who are basing their financial plans on a reliable source of income can have their situation thrown into disarray if they are given misleading information, let alone intentionally tricked into buying a product that a broker will not serve their needs. It is precisely situations like these that FINRA aims to prevent by banning brokers.
Some of the major annuity and life insurance providers are:
- Aviva/Athene/Accordia Life Insurance Company
- Transamerica Life Insurance Company
- John Hancock Life Insurance Company
- Bankers Life Insurance and Casualty company
- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Midland Life Insurance Company
- North American Company for Life and Health Insurance
- Pacific Life Insurance Company
- Prudential Life Insurance Company
- Genworth Life Insurance Company
- ING USA Annuity and Life Insurance Company
- Lincoln Benefit Life Company
- Metlife/Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
- Unum Life Insurance Company of America
- Voya/Reliastar Life Insurance Company
If you or a loved one feels that they may have been the victim of an improperly sold or administered life insurance or annuity, the San Mateo elder abuse attorneys at the Evans Law Firm can help. Our attorneys have experience in dealing with large insurance companies, and can help guide your case through a civil trial or toward an equitable settlement. They can be reached at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.