Dennis Travis Subject to Customer Disputes Over Unsuitable Variable Annuity Practices

shutterstock_128856874-300x200Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating The O.N. Equity Sales Company (O.N. Equity Sales) broker Dennis Travis (Travis). According to BrokerCheck records, Travis has been subject to 6 customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these customer disputes involve the unsuitable recommendations of variable annuities. In addition, Travis has been subject to a regulatory action by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which FINRA sanctioned Travis for various violations of the securities laws.

In November 2017, a customer alleged that Travis placed customer into a variable universal life (VUL) insurance policy that was unsuitable to customer investment needs. The customer has alleged $57,643.65 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In addition, in November 2011, FINRA found that Travis placed discretionary trades in the subaccounts of his customers’ variable annuities without the written authorization or knowledge of his customers or his member firm. Travis did this in an attempt to “balance” the allocation of investments. Without admitting or denying the findings, Travis consented to the described sanctions and entry findings. He was fined $5,000 and suspended on December 2011 for 10 days.

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 disclosures with respect to Travis is high relative 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.

Travis entered the securities industry in 1991 and has been registered with O.N. Equity Sales since 2011. From December 1999 to December 2010, Travis was registered with  Metlife Securities Inc.From December 1999 to July 2007, Travis was also registered with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Investors who have suffered losses may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away and brokerage firms failure to supervise their representatives. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover