The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) broker Richard Fortune (Fortune). According to BrokerCheck Records, Fortune has been subject to 6 customer disputes, one of which is still pending. The majority of these disputes involve the false representation of variable annuities.
In August 2017, a customer alleged that from February 2015 to October 2015, Fortune did not disclose all possible options regarding withdrawing variable annuity investments.
In September 2015, a customer alleged that in December 2014, Fortune falsely represented the nature of variable annuities which he placed the customer in.
In March 2015, another customer alleged that from April 2011 to August 2014, Fortune misrepresented several variable annuities that he placed the customer in.
A variable annuity is complex financial and insurance product – an investor should be fully aware of the risks, rewards, and features of before investing. The benefits of variable annuities are often outweighed by the terms of the contract including surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees; market-related risk, and rider costs. Variable annuities are high sales commission products for financial advisors; sometimes advisors push these products on persons who do not need them or cannot benefit from them in order to receive high commissions.
False representations include statements that omit or misrepresent information that is material to an investor. Advisers are prohibited from only listing the positive aspects of a security without disclosing downside risk and negative features in a balanced and fair manner. An intentional omission of the downside risk of an investment can also be a basis for a fraud claim.
Fortune also has an unusual amount of complaints on his record in comparison 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. However, many studies show that certain parts of California, New York or Florida, the rates of disclosure go up to as high as 18%. Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their CRD customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, and even criminal matters. 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.
Fortune entered the securities industry in 1986 and has been registered with MML Investors since March 2017. From May 1986 to March 2017, Fortune was registered with MSI Financial Services, Inc. From May 1986 to July 2007, Fortune was 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 false representations and variable annuities. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.