FINRA Sanctioned Eight Broker-dealer Firms

VOYAAccording 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.”

VOYA Financial Advisors was ordered to pay at least $1.8 million to affected customers, and was also issued a fine of $2.75 million. Cetera Advisors Networks, First Allied, Summit Brokerage Services and VSR “were collectively ordered to pay customers at least $4.5 million.” Cetera Advisor Networks and Cetera Financial Specialists were issued fines of $750,000 and $350,000, respectively. The remaining firms were issued fines, ranging from $250,000 to $950,000, as well.

If you have lost money investing with VOYA Financial Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Summit Brokerage Services, VSR Financial Services, Kestra Investment Services, or FTB Advisors, you may be able to recover your losses. Call Fitapelli Kurta at 877-238-4175 for a free consultation. All cases are taken on a contingency basis: Fitapelli Kurta only gets paid if and when you collect funds. Time to file your claim may be limited, so we encourage you to avoid delay. Call 877-238-4175 now to speak to an attorney for free.