In June 2016, Next Financial Group, Inc. (Next Financial) broker Dion Padilla (Padilla) was subject to a regulatory action brought by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alleging Padilla effected an unauthorized purchase of a variable annuity for a customer and misrepresented that the investment was not a variable annuity. According to FINRA, the customer stressed to Padilla that they did not want any of their funds invested in a variable annuity due to the high fees associated with variable annuities and because of their desire for liquidity. But instead of following the customer’s instructions, FINRA found that Padilla presented a variable annuity application to the customer and assured him that the application was not for a variable annuity. In addition, FINRA found that Padilla caused the customer to invest an additional $558,889 into the variable annuity by falsely claiming that the investment purchased was not a variable annuity. FINRA found these statements to be misrepresentations that were all false and misleading.
In addition to the FINRA sanctions, Padilla has been subject to four customer complaints – many of which involve claims concerning variable annuity investments. The law offices of Gana LLP are currently investigating customer complaints concerning this broker.
Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products. In fact, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing. Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you. The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen. The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.
However, the benefits of variable annuities are often outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.
The number of complaints against Padilla are unusual compared to his peers. According to newsources, only about 7.3% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records among brokers employed from 2005 to 2015. Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their CRD customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, and even criminal matters. However, studies have found that there are fraud hotspots such as certain parts of California, New York or Florida, where the rates of disclosure can reach 18% or higher. Moreover, according to the New York Times, BrokerCheck may be becoming increasing inaccurate and understate broker misconduct as studies have shown that 96.9% of broker requests to clean their records of complaints are granted.
Padilla entered the securities industry in 2001. Since 2006 Padilla has been associated with Next Financial out of the firm’s San Antonio, Texas office location.
At Gana LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.