Articles Posted in Annuities

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas Is Investigating Citizens Securities Over Colorado Bankers Life Insurance Annuity Sales To Investors

Our Skilled Annuity Investor Loss Lawyers Can Help You Explore Your Legal Options

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas Annuity Investor Loss Lawyers have been pursuing the brokerage firms that sold annuities and annuity-like products from companies owned by billionaire Greg Lindberg. This includes our investigation into Citizens Securities, which is a subsidiary of Citizens Bank. The registered broker-dealer and investment adviser (RIA) may have allegedly unsuitably marketed and sold Colorado Bankers Life Insurance annuities to investors, including retirees.

Colorado Bankers Life Insurance Annuity Investors May Be Able To File Broker Fraud Lawsuits

Owner Greg Lindberg Faces More Criminal Charges

Our annuity investment loss lawyers are continuing to help investors pursue damages from the brokerage firms that allegedly unsuitably recommended and sold them annuities issued by Colorado Bankers Life Insurance Company. The insurer, which entered into liquidation in late 2022, is owned by billionaire Greg Lindberg.

An Update for Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Investors

Our Trusted Annuity Fraud Lawyers Continue to Pursue Brokerage Firms Over Investment Losses

In a February 3 letter, Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Ltd. (in Liquidation) notified shareholders that the substantive hearing of the Segregation Application will occur from April 24 to May 2, 2023, at the Supreme Court of Bermuda. It will be attended by attorneys for the joint provisional liquidators (JPLs), the Class Representatives, and the Amicus Curae. The letter also stated that the JPLs have filed a lawsuit in US Bankruptcy Court against Northstar (Bermuda) owner Greg Lindberg, his Global Growth Holdings, its affiliates, and others. Lindberg, who is currently out of prison, is awaiting a retrial and is also facing other criminal and regulatory charges.

Our Skilled Annuity Fraud Lawyers Represent Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) Investors

Mexico Investors File FINRA Lawsuit Accusing Truist Investment Services of Overconcentration

Once again, Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas ( have filed a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claim against Truist Investment Services over losses suffered by investors in Northstar Financial Services (Bermuda) products. These claimants, two Mexican investors, are an older couple who entrusted the US-based brokerage firm to keep their savings secure. Instead, their Truist Investment Services broker allegedly 100% concentrated their funds in Northstar (Bermuda) while reassuring them, time and again, that all was well. Now, they are suing Truist and seeking up to six figures in damages.

New FINRA Arbitration Claim Seeks $260K in Damages 

Former Wells Fargo Clearing Services (WRET) broker Herbert Lee Weith IV is named in yet another customer dispute in which the claimant is seeking damages for losses involving variable annuities. Weith, who was a Wells Fargo broker from 2012 to 2019 in Naples, Florida, became a registered investment advisor for Equitable Advisors, LLC, in Columbia, Maryland from January to October of 2020.

Our Florida broker fraud attorneys have been looking into complaints by ex-Wells Fargo customers of Weith who suffered serious investment losses that may have been caused by unsuitable investment recommendations. Contact our attorneys at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm at today. 

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has put out a new investor alert warning about advertisements that are marketing higher-than-average CD yields. The self-regulatory authority says that some of the ads might be an attempt to get investors to buy a much more much more expensive investment, such as a fixed or equity-indexed annuity, that is not risk free. Often, the alternative investments are insurance products.

FINRA warned that with most CD promotions that are marketing ploys, an investor would be required to go to an office or talk to a salesperson, who may try to convince the prospective buyer to purchase an alternative product that is not a CD. Typically, the minimum purchase amount is high, such as $25K. Such ploys would also tout a “bonus”-a sum the salesperson would pay you plus the average percentage yield of the CD. FINRA warns that this bonus is actually an incentive to get you to hear the pitch for the more complex product. Meantime, the seller may be earning a high commission for making the sale.
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In the wake of regulator scrutiny, Voya Financial Advisors is once again placing restrictions on its sale of variable annuities. The regulators are wondering whether the products are appropriate for investors who are saving for retirement. Variable annuities have been getting a lot attention from regulators from FINRA, the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Labor Department, which oversees retirement benefit plans that provide tax benefits and are sponsored by employers.

InvestmentNews reports that according to internal documents, Voya said that it would no longer approve the sale of C share variable annuity contracts if the contract has add-ons that cost extra. It was just last month that the firm placed the same restriction on variable annuity contracts involving L shares.

Zoya brokers will now have to provide clients with an analysis, prepared by Morningstar Inc., of each annuity contract’s cost in dollars. They also will have to get a client’s signature before selling the new annuity.
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SusanWalker, an ex investment adviser with Ameriprise Financial Inc. (AMP), has pleaded guilty to bilking two dozen clients of $980,000. She stole the funds from clients between ’08 and ’13, using the money to cover her own spending, including costly vacations.

Walker is accused of setting up investment accounts under several customers’ names but without their consent. She took money from clients’ retirement and brokerage accounts, placed the funds into the accounts under her control, and took out the funds to spend as she pleased. Ameriprise has paid back the customers that were harmed.

The firm fired Walker and her mother Barbara Stark in early 2013. Stark is not charged in this criminal case.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has decided to pay closer attention to the sale of fixed annuities in part because brokerage firms are selling a larger chunk of indexed annuities these days. Regulators want to examine the procedures and policies involving clients giving up or trading variable annuities to place the assets into equity indexed annuities and other products.

According to InvestmentNews, broker-dealers are becoming a force in the indexed annuities era. They were accountable for 11.4% of the market’s share last year, an 8.9% jump from the year before. In a report, the Insured Retirement Institute said that the US annuity industry made $220.9 billion in sales in 2013. Fixed annuity sales for that year was $78.1 billion. Indexed annuities sales hit $38.6 billion.

During this first quarter, reports InvestmentNews, LPL Financial (LPLA), which is the biggest independent brokerage firm, saw a surge in fixed annuities sales. Revenues of fixed income was $46.7 million-70.8% more than during the first three months of 2013.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Guggenheim Partners, Harbinger Capital Partners, and Apollo Global Management are just some of the money managers who have begun to acquire fixed annuities. These investments, which were sold by life insurance companies to conservative savers for decades, are now being seen by these newest buyers as a way to increase money under management. Many of these entities, which are controlled by private-equity groups, hedge funds, and other investment managers, believe that their investment savvy will allow them to discover profits where traditional insurance companies were unable to do so. Such acquisitions could provide a more stable income source.

For example, following its acquisition of a couple of midsize insurers this summer by its affiliates, Guggenheim, the $160 billion money manager. won credit-ratings upgrades. Meantime, Athene Annuity & Life, which said it would pay $415 million for Presidential Life Corp., will add about $3.5 billion in assets if Presidential shareholders approve the deal. As for Apollo Global Management, it is seeking to establish a retirement-savings company that is a market leader.

Some of these new annuity owners are offering products that come with terms that are now more generous for clients, while others want to make money off the business blocks they’ve acquired. The National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations says that to get US consumers to buy annuities, firms have to set up state-based insurance units that are governed by the same risk-based-capital rules that other insurers have to follow.

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