Voya Financial Advisors, Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to adequately supervise the sales of variable annuity L-shares. Voya Financial Advisors (Voya Financial) was subject to a similar FINRA disciplinary action in 2015 which alleged the firm failed to supervise the sales of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs).
Registered with FINRA since 1968, Voya Financial, f/k/a ING Financial Partners, Inc., currently has 2,779 registered representatives and 1,485 branch offices. FINRA found that from July 2012 to August 2014, Voya failed to establish, maintain, and enforce a supervisory system to identify red flags in the sale of variable annuity L-shares. Further, FINRA found that Voya failed to provide its registered representatives with adequate training and guidance on suitability considerations for these multi-share class variable annuities. According to FINRA, the L-share annuities are a complex investment product that is only suitable for a narrow class of investors and that Voya allegedly failed to provide its advisors with reasonable guidance to discern this class of investor. Continue reading →