Category: Variable Annuity Abuses

VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. Fined $1.75 Million

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has fined VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc., a Houston-based broker-dealer, $1.75 million. VALIC Financial Advisors consented to the entirety of FINRA’s findings when settling the matter, but neither admitted nor denied the charges. According to FINRA, VALIC failed to identify and address certain conflicts of interest present in the firm’s… read more

Do You Know When to Change Your Variable Annuity?

Investing for retirement is important, but it’s not always easy to know what your best option is. If you’ve chosen a variable annuity (VA), it’s especially important to investigate your investment options. MetLife Securities, Inc. (MSI) was recentlyfined $25 million by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for allegedly making misrepresentations and omissions on VA… read more

Troubles of Using IRA Money to Buy Variable Annuities

Have you been pitched the idea of buying a variable annuity by your broker or financial advisor? Were you asked to use money inside an IRA? It is important to understand that this is a risky investment for a number of reasons. Not only does it cost a lot of money, but brokers may charge… read more

Nationwide to Pay $8 Million over Variable Annuity Failures

Nationwide Life Insurance will pay an $8 million penalty to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over variable annuity and life insurance policy errors Nationwide Life Insurance Co., based out ofColumbus, Ohio, agreed to pay $8 million over what the SEC says were deliberate delays in the receipt of variable annuity and life insurance policy… read more

Four Insurance Agents Face Accusations of Defrauding the Elderly

The Denver division of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced today that it would be seeking sanctions against four insurance agents for allegedly defrauding elderly annuity holders. Gary Snisky is the supposed ringleader of the investment scheme, operating out of his company Arete, LLC. The SEC believes that the scheme potentially defrauded up to… read more

Variable Annuities – Very Expensive Mutual Funds that Are Nearly Impossible to Understand

The variable annuity is one of the insurance industry’s most popular products. Insurers and brokers have long pitched variable annuities as a retirement-savings vehicle for people who max out their 401(k)s or IRAs. At the end of 2013, the total amount U.S. investors had placed in variable annuities was an astounding $1.8 trillion. A variable… read more

Top Regulatory Official Voices Concerns About Variable Annuity Sales

By Chad M. Kohler, Esq. Recently, while speaking at an industry conference in Washington, D.C., a top regulatory official spoke publicly about his growing concerns over the sale of variable annuities in today’s marketplace. The remarks came from Carlo di Florio, chief risk officer and head of strategy at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA),… read more

Warning from Former Broker About Variable Annuities

By Chad M. Kohler, Esq. “A guaranteed income for life” sounds like a pretty good proposition to most investors. When I was a stockbroker, I heard countless sales pitches from variable annuity wholesalers who would come into my branch office and tout promises of “guaranteed lifetime income” as the reason why a variable annuity should… read more

Investors Should Be Wary of Variable-Annuity Swaps

As explained in a recent Wall Street Journal article, investors should be wary if their insurance agents, brokers, or financial advisers claim that swapping their older variable annuities for newer ones would be in their best interests. In fact, because of the poor market performance from 2007 to 2009, variable annuities that were purchased before… read more

FINRA Statistics Show Surge in Variable Annuity Cases

While overall arbitration filings with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) increased last year, cases involving variable annuity sales increased nearly threefold, rising to 123 cases in 2009 from only 47 in 2008. A variable annuity is a complex, specific type of annuity product that includes both insurance and securities components. Due to their intricacies,… read more