Summit Equities Fined for Variable Annuity Supervisory Failures

Summit Equities, Inc., submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which it was fined $325,000 for failing to adequately supervise its registered representatives’ recommendations and sales of multi-share-class variable annuities. Registered with FINRA since 1982 and headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, Summit Equities has approximately 132 registered representatives.  FINRA found that from October 2011 to December 2015 (the relevant time period), Summit Equities sold 1,037 individual variable annuity contracts to its customers.  Approximately 45% of those contracts were L-share contracts.  FINRA found that Summit Equities failed to provide its registered representatives with proper training and guidance on suitability considerations for these variable annuities, which provide a shorter surrender period than B-share contracts, but have a higher fee in exchange for the increased liquidity. Without admitting or denying the FINRA findings, Summit Equities was censured and assessed a $325,000 fine. 

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