Annuities are a form of life insurance that provide a lump sum payment upon death and a tax deferred investments usually in form of mutual funds.

The high up front commissions and on-going fees associated with annuities that are not disclosed to the purchaser, along with secret incentives for brokers to sell them, has created problems for consumers and the industry for failure to disclose those fees.  Seniors are particularly vulnerable, as these are not liquid assets and early withdrawal of funds comes at a hefty price.

Many have been sold with the assurance they are "safe."  Investments always have a degree of risk.  Never let anyone tell you otherwise no matter the instrument they are trying to sell.  Know the risks before you buy.  And do your own research, don't rely on the seller.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is a good place to get more information.  The links below are a sample.

Broker Check - Inquiry form to check the status of your broker.

FINRA Fines ICAP $2.8 Million, Fines and Suspends Former Broker for Improper Communications with Other Interdealer Brokers About Customers' Brokerage Rate Negotiations in Wholesale CDS Market—6/30/09

FINRA Fines Fifth Third Securities $1.75 Million for 250 Unsuitable Variable Annuities Transactions

Disciplinary Actions take by FINRA (not searchable)

In May of 2003, the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) issued an alert regarding Annuities Fraud:

"The marketing efforts used by some variable annuity sellers deserve scrutiny — especially when seniors are the targeted investors. Sales pitches for these products might attempt to scare or confuse investors. One scare tactic used with seniors is to claim that a variable annuity will protect them from lawsuits or seizures of their assets. Many such claims are not based on facts, but nevertheless help land a sale.

"While variable annuities can be appropriate as an investment under the right circumstances, as an investor, you should be aware of their restrictive features, understand that substantial taxes and charges may apply if you withdraw your money early, and guard against fear-inducing sales tactics."

We are dedicated to aggressively recovering annuities losses and stock market losses caused by brokerage firms and investment counselors.