The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is fining eight brokerage firms $6.2M for not supervising the sale of L-share variable annuities to customers. Five of the firms must pay another $6.3M to customers because the variable annuities that they were purchased were potentially not compatible with the latter’s investment goals and accounts.
The firms, and their sanctions, include: Voya Financial Advisors Inc., for $2.75M fine, First Allied Securities, Inc., for $950K fine, VSR Financial Services, for $400K fine, Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, for $350K fine, Cetera Advisors Networks LLC, for $750K fine, Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., for $500K fine, Kestra Investments, for $475K fine, and FTB Advisors, for $250K fine. The firms that have to pay restitution are: Voya, for $1.8M, while first Allied, Cetera Advisors Networks, VSR, and Summit Brokerage Services will collectively pay $4.5M. All the firms are settling, but they are not denying or admitting to any of the alleged claims.
At issue was the sale of the L-share annuities, which are “potentially incompatible, complex and expensive long-term minimum-income and withdrawal riders.” L-share annuities are more likely to pay registered representatives and their firms higher compensation than more traditional instruments.