Houston, Texas-based VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. (VALIC) was hit with a $1.75 million fine by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to prevent compensation conflicts. VALIC is alleged to have incentivized its registered representatives to sell its own annuities and discouraged them from selling non-proprietary products.
FINRA found that from October 2011 to October 2014, VALIC failed to maintain a reasonable supervisory system to address the potential conflicts of interest created by its compensation policy, which incentivized its representatives for recommending that customers move funds from VALIC variable annuities to the firm’s fee-based platform or a VALIC fixed index annuity. Further, FINRA found that VALIC made the compensation conflict worse by prohibiting its representatives from receiving compensation when moving customer funds from a VALIC variable annuity to a non-VALIC variable annuity, mutual fund or other non-VALIC product. Continue reading →