Securities fraud attorneys are currently investigating claims on behalf of investors who suffered significant losses in variable annuities. Variable annuities are insurance products tied to an investment portfolio, which typically consist of mutual funds that hold bonds and stocks. In many cases, brokers receive commissions as high as 8 percent when selling variable annuities, which may motivate them to make recommendations that are unsuitable for investors.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently filed a complaint against two MetLife Securities Inc. brokers, Patrick Chapin and Christopher Birli. According to the complaint, Chapin and Birli focused on advising State University of New York employees on their retirement plan. Both were terminated in 2012 and do not work in the securities industry at this time.
According to the complaint, Chapin and Birli allegedly made recommendations to 45 of their customers to unload their plan’s MetLife variable annuities by cashing in their annuities, purchasing another security within the plan to be held for 90 days, and then selling that security to switch to new variable annuities outside the university plan, held in IRAs. The alleged misconduct took place between 2004 and 2007. According to FINRA, this scheme generated commissions for the brokers amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to stock fraud lawyers, the brokers’ actions exposed investors to unnecessary risks. Reportedly, in order to cash in their plan’s annuities, some investors were required to pay fees, and investor funds were tied up in the new annuities for up to seven years. Brokers have an obligation to fully disclose all the risks of a given investment when making recommendations, and those recommendations must be suitable for the individual investor receiving the recommendation given their age, investment objectives and risk tolerance. Securities fraud attorneys say that many investors may have received unsuitable recommendations related to variable annuities.
If you received an unsuitable recommendation regarding variable annuities and suffered significant losses as a result, you may be able to recover your losses through securities arbitration. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a stock fraud lawyer at Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C. at (866) 966-9598 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-cost, confidential consultation.