FINRA levies $25 Million Fine Against Metlife
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, recently brought down the hammer on Metlife, in the form of the second largest penalty in the history of the agency. Although Metlife did not admit to wrongdoing in the settlement, the core of FINRAs complaint was based on the company’s Variable annuity products, both in the way they were designed and the way they were sold.
Variable annuities have long been seen by some financial advisors as risky products, particularly for those living on a fixed income, such as seniors and retirees. The yields on variable annuities can fluctuate, hence the name, and as a consequence they don’t always yield the dependable income that these customers need.
Variable Annuity Products
Variable annuities are sometimes sold and marketed as essential components for retirement financial planning, on the basis that they can provide lifetime income. Since this can be risky for the company to promise, variable annuities often come with sizeable fees and penalties, such as surrender penalties for policyholders who need access to the money locked in their annuity. These surrender penalties can be a significant portion of the total value of the policy, and many clients feel that they are not properly informed of the costs of their policies. Our Santa Clara annuity fraud attorneys have seen many cases in which policyholders aren’t made aware of their surrender penalties until too late.
In California, and many other states, seniors are afforded special protections under the law. These protections are designed to prevent predatory brokers from selling the elderly policies that are patently unsuitable for their needs and their income. Brokers are required to disclose all of the relevant information for the policy, and very specific requirements are made for the policy illustrations and financial charts. In addition, brokers and companies that don’t adhere to these requirements may be liable for additional penalties if they are sued.
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 has ben the victim of an improperly sold or administered annuity or life insurance product, contact the Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at