The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is scrutinizing the sales of variable annuities, noting that they are complex products typically marketed to seniors. This follows a record fine of $25 million FINRA slammed MetLife Securities, Inc. (MetLife) with for negligent misrepresentations and omissions of fact regarding the costs and guarantees relating to variable annuities and variable annuity replacements.
At a recent Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) conference, FINRA associate vice president and enforcement chief counsel James Day stated that variable annuities “… are at the sweet spot of complex products marketed to retirees and people about to retire.” Also noted at the IRI conference as a specific area of FINRA’s scrutiny were L-share variable annuities. These products offer increased liquidity and a shorter surrender-penalty period, typically three years rather than seven. Continue reading →