Fifth Third Securities, Inc. was fined by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) earlier this week for $4 million and was ordered to pay restitution of $2 million after the regulator determined the firm failed to correctly consider and properly describe benefits and costs of variable annuity exchanges. In addition, the agency found that Fifth Third Securities, Inc. made unsuitable recommendations with regard to variable annuity exchanges.
Variable annuities are a type of complex investment that is typically sold to retirees and other individuals saving money for retirement. During its investigation, FINRA found that Fifth Third Securities failed to properly supervise its registered representatives and advisers and failed to correctly assess certain information when recommending VA exchanges to its customers. To make matters worse, FINRA discovered that many of the firm’s representatives were not properly trained in terms of conducting comparative analysis’ of VAs and ended up misleading customers on the benefits and costs of exchanges it was selling to customers. In addition, the firm has been accused of violating a number of industry rules and standards.
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