RiverSource Distributors Accused of Targeting Retail Ameriprise Financial Customers With VA Sales
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is ordering Ameriprise’s subsidiary brokerage firm, RiverSource Distributors, to pay a $5M fine for alleged violations involving variable annuities (VAs). The regulator contends that several RiverSource employees came up with a sales strategy that caused holders of these products to switch annuities. This purportedly resulted in enhanced sales commissions and boosted VA sales revenues for the firm.
The SEC said that RiverSource Distributors sold the VA exchanges to retail customers through Ameriprise Financial Services. It charged RiverSource with “improper switching or replacing variable annuities.” The case is the SEC’s first-ever enforcement proceeding under the Investment Company Act of 1940’s Section 11.