According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on November 2, 2016, and accessed on February 3, 2017, FINRA has sanctioned eight broker-dealer firms in connection to alleged sales variable annuity sales violations. Fitapelli Kurta is interested in hearing from investors who have complaints regarding the firms in question: VOYA Financial Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Summit Brokerage Services, VSR Financial Services, Kestra Investment Services, and FTB Advisors.
FINRA’s release alleges that the firms failed to supervise the sales of variable annuity products. According to the complaint: “The L-share VAs at the heart of this action are complex investment products combining insurance and security features designed for short-term investors willing to pay higher fees in exchange for shorter surrender periods. L-shares also had the potential to pay greater compensation to the firms and registered representatives than more traditional share classes. Each of the firms in this action lacked an adequate system to supervise variable annuities with multiple share classes, and failed to provide its registered representatives and principals with reasonable guidance regarding the narrow class of customers for whom the costs and features of L-share variable annuities were suitable.”
The release goes on to say that the alleged failures were “compounded” when the L-shares were often sold with “complex and expensive guaranteed income and withdrawal riders that provided benefits only over longer holding periods.” VOYA, as well as four Cetera Group firms, allegedly failed to notify red flags of “broad patterns of potentially unsuitable sales of this product combination.”