SWS Financial Charged With Improper Supervision of Variable Annuity Transactions
FINRA has filed charges alleging that SWS had inadequate supervisory systems and written supervisory procedures to supervise its Variable Annuity business.
During September 2009, sales of variable annuities made up 16% to 20% of SWS' total revenues. However, SWS failed to implement specific procedures to approve VA sales generated in its offices that didn't have an onsite supervisor. These offices accounted for about 1,300 of the more than 1,500 variable annuity transactions executed by SWS's reps during the relevant period.
Without the necessary supervisory review, some fishy VA deals slipped through the cracks. In one scenario, a rep recommended that 29 of his clients swap VAs issued by MassMutual Life Insurance Co. for those from Jackson National Life Insurance Co. because the latter would no longer issue certain guaranteed living benefits. At least three of the 29 exchanges might have been inappropriate because the clients hadn't reached the appropriate age of 45 to add the benefits offered by Jackson National.
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