Articles Posted in Transamerica

SEC Obtains Default Judgment Against Former Cincinnati, Ohio Registered Representative 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has obtained a default judgment against Scott Allen Fries. He was a Transamerica Financial Advisors registered representative from 2014 to 2019. 

The regulator’s amended complaint accuses the former broker and investment advisor of raising approximately $458K from at least ten investors, including customers from the brokerage firm, and using the funds to pay for his personal expenses. Fries is barred from further fraud violations and must pay disgorgement of $428,334.53, a civil penalty of $208,500, and a prejudgment interest of $110,548.02.

FINRA Settlement Includes Restitution to More than 2,400 Customers

In an agreement reached with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Transamerica Financial Advisors consented to pay $8.8M over the unsuitable sales of mutual funds, variable annuities (VAs) and 529 savings plans to customers. 

$4.4M of this is a fine and $4.4M is restitution to about 2,400 customers who were financially harmed. The firm settled with FINRA but without denying or admitting to its findings. 

Four Transamerica entities have settled US Securities and Exchange Charges accusing them of misconduct involving investment models that were faulty. Collectively, the entities, AEGON USA Investment Management LLC (AUIM), its affiliated brokerage firm Transamerica Capital Inc., as well as its affiliated investment advisers Transamerica Financial Advisors Inc. and Transamerica Asset Management Inc., will pay $97M to retail investors that were impacted. However, the entities are not denying or admitting to the regulator’s findings.

The SEC’s order contends that investors placed billions of dollars into mutual funds and strategies that employed flawed investment models that AUIM developed without knowing they had errors. AUIM’s affiliated investment advisers and broker-dealer touted the quantitative models upon which their investment decisions would be made. Between July ’11 and June ’15, they purportedly offered, sold, and oversaw 15 mutual funds, variable annuity investment portfolios, variable life insurance investment portfolios, mutual funds, and separately management account strategies that were based on these quantitative models.

Unfortunately, contends the SEC’s order, the models were created by one junior analyst who was inexperienced. Not only that, but there were a number of errors in the models, which failed to operate as promised. Moreover, said the regulator, the Transamerica entities launched the Strategies and Products without first verifying that the models worked as they were meant to and without disclosing any risks identified with the models.

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